A WOMAN jumped for her life from a flat above a Young furniture store set ablaze by sparks from an angle grinder used in a bungled attempt to steal a safe.
The man who broke into Turner’s Furniture One store, Allan Wayne Schodde, pleaded guilty in Wagga Local Court on Wednesday to recklessly destroying property by fire, break and enter with intent to commit a serious indictable offence and entering a building with intent to commit an indictable offence.
He will be sentenced in Wagga District Court at a date to be fixed.
Agreed facts tendered to the Local Court said 33-year-old Schodde used a screwdriver to break into the furniture store before dawn on September 27 last year.
Schodde discovered a safe in an office, and after trying in vain to open it he walked back to his unit in Patterson’s Avenue and got an angle grinder. He used the machine to try to open the safe, but again failed.
“In attempting to use the angle grinder on the safe, the defendant Schodde caused sparks to hit the carpet inside the store and cause smoke to come up from the carpet, which was seen by the defendant,” the facts said.
Schodde then decided to take the safe from the store in a car, but that plan was soon abandoned and he left the building. According to the agreed facts, Schodde at that time did not know the store was alight.
About 6.30am, firefighters were called to the burning shop, where a 23-year-old woman living in an upstairs flat was asleep.
“The female was woken up by a passer-by who saw flames coming from the first floor and banged on her door,” the facts said.
“The passer-by was assisted by other members of the community in helping the female jump from the top balcony to safety.
“The defendant (Schodde) was unaware that any persons were residing above the business.”
Police used surveillance camera footage to pinpoint Schodde as a suspect and he admitted to the offences during an interview on December 2.
Schodde’s defacto, Amy McIntosh, has been charged with being an accessory. She will face Wagga Local Court on June 10.
Meanwhile, Schodde also faces two counts of agreeing to supply methamphetamine and one count of agreeing to supply cannabis.
Those charges are still before the Local Court.
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