Christopher Pantou, 38, jailed for four-month car stealing spree

EXCLUSIVE Carly LadenSouth Western Times
Bunbury Courthouse.
Camera IconBunbury Courthouse. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

A man who went on a four month crime-spree across Bunbury and Perth last year, stealing four cars, number plates off display vehicles and multiple burglaries of homes and businesses, has been jailed for more than three years.

Christopher John Pantou, 38, appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Monday via video link from Bunbury Regional Prison where he was sentenced on 25 charges relating to the 2022 spree.

The charges included five counts of stealing, four counts of stealing a motor vehicle, four drugs charges including possession and drug-driving, four possessions of a firearm, weapon or illegal item, three burglary charges, two breaches of a suspended imprisonment order, reckless driving, careless driving and trespassing.

On August 2, Pantou forced his way into an East Bunbury Walker Street home through the property’s rear door before rummaging through various cupboards and drawers throughout the home, locating numerous sets of car and motorbike keys.

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Taking the keys, the man then stole a white Holden Commodore from the property which was captured on CCTV.

The same day, police located Pantou in the stolen vehicle with different licence plates, when he took off at speed.

Believed to be travelling more than 100km/h, Pantou took off on the wrong side of the road, causing several vehicles to take “evasive action” to avoid collision.

A previous charge of trespassing during this time arose when Pantou entered Bunbury Mitsubishi and removed plates off display vehicles which police later identified to match the new plates put on the stolen cars.

Searching the Commodore, police located a bag containing less than 1g of cannabis, a plastic drink bottle, a small piece of hose and a cone piece.

Despite police making numerous attempts to question him, Pantou did not take part in an interview telling police he was “too tired” and “hadn’t slept in two days”.

It followed series of similar-natured vehicle and plate stealings months prior in Perth.

On May 30, Pantou was involved in a serious car crash on Perth’s Canning Highway where he skidded along the road hitting signage, swerving away before colliding with the kerb causing the vehicle to roll multiple times.

Pantou told authorities he “fell asleep” at the wheel, later returning a positive test for drug-driving.

Upon searching the car, police also found 0.41g of meth and 0.06g of amphetamine.

Pantou was taken to hospital for assessment where staff later located a folding knife with a flip switch blade concealed down the man’s pants.

The following month, police issued a search warrant for the man’s Como address where they located a stolen black and white Kawasaki motorcycle, valued at $5000.

Also in the home, police found 50ml of clear liquid in a small plastic vile, believed to be 1,4 butanediol as well as a can of pepper spray and 31 shotgun shells.

The man’s lawyer told the court he had struggled with drug addiction for “some time” and was aware the offending would breach a suspended prison term, warranting “mandatory” jail time.

Magistrate Benjamin Tyers handed down a sentence of three years and 10 months for the two home burglaries and reckless driving, backdated to August 2022, making Pantou eligible for parole.

A total of $2500 in fines were also issued for the remaining charges.

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