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Echuca ski race “hero” jailed for stealing the boat of V8 Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom

A bankrupt ski racing “hero” who owed $ 20 million for stealing speedboats has been jailed.

Important points:

  • Brett Spits and Lincoln Mifsud were convicted of stealing boats on the Victoria-NSW border
  • Mifsud avoided jail time, but the judge said he has been shunned in his community since then
  • Spits will be behind bars for more than a year

Brett Spits, 38, was sentenced today to two years behind bars by Victoria District Court for the $ 525,000 border brawl that left four families without their watercraft.

Prosecutors suspect that he was directly involved in the theft of a family boat belonging to a survivor of a bushfire just a few months after the purchase.

But Spits’ accomplice Lincoln Mifsud, who handled the stolen boats, was able to avoid jail and instead faced 350 hours of unpaid labor and a two-year community arrangement.

One of the boats belonged to Mark Winterbottom, a former V8 supercars champion and winner of the famous Bathurst 1000 race.

Mark Winterbottom (left) and Steve Richards won the Bathurst 1000 in 2013. (

AAP: Edge Photography / Mark Horsburgh

)

Today Judge Sarah Dawes said Mifsud was blinded by Spits, who was a well-known boat racing identity in Echuca.

“You saw Mr. Spits as a local hero,” said Judge Dawes.

“You were more than a passive participant.

“You narrowly avoided imprisonment.”

Richter describes the “case of man”

Brett Spits leaves the glass doors of the County Court in Melbourne.Brett Spits, pictured in court in 2017. (

ABC News: Sam Clark

)

The court heard that when his behavior became known, Mifsud was shunned in Echuca, where he lives.

His business, which was once more than $ 260,000 a year, has collapsed and he now lives in a caravan park.

“You were a favorite son of your local community. You have fallen from grace. You have fallen out of favor in the local media, ”said Judge Dawes.

Security vision of a ute on a highwaySecurity cameras have captured the vehicle that Spits used to steal Winterbottom’s boat.

Delivered: District Court

)

Prosecutors said last January Spits brought two stolen speedboats, both $ 250,000 worth of Malibu wake setters, from Mulwala, New South Wales, to Victoria.

About a month later, Spits stole two $ 275,000 worth of Malibu wake setters from properties in Bundalong on the Victorian side of the Murray River.

The court heard that Spits was motivated by “financial gain” – his crime occurred about four years after the collapse of his $ 20 million construction company, Imagebuild Group.

Stolen boats found in the shed

Investigators later ransacked Spits’ home, where they found a car that was used in the crime. They also found one of the boats in Mifsud’s record racket shop.

Mifsud led investigators to the three other boats that were being stored in a shed.

The court heard that one of the stolen boats, bought two months before it disappeared, belonged to a man whose sister survived the devastating 2020 bushfires.

“On the day the boat was stolen, he planned to spend quality family time with her on the boat,” said the judge.

“He was very disappointed that they were unable to do this. The boat and its contents had considerable sentimental value.”

The judge said Spits was actively involved in the theft of the two Victorian boats.

“I am without a doubt satisfied that you played a significant role in this criminal enterprise,” she said.

Spits must spend at least a year and three months behind bars before he can be paroled.

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