28 March 2024

Wagga teen faces three and a half years behind bars for weapons crimes

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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courthouse building and firearms

Wagga Wagga District Court sentenced a 19-year-old man for possession of firearms. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen/NSW Police.

A 19-year-old Kooringal man who slept with a shotgun under his pillow and told the police “well, there’s only… so many ways you can f——g get them, really” about stolen firearms, has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for a litany of firearms and weapons offences.

Ethan Bartlett was charged with 13 offences including acquiring firearm parts without authority, possessing unregistered firearms, receiving stolen property, and possessing prohibited weapons.

In Wagga Wagga District Court, Judge Gordon Lerve sentenced Bartlett to jail with a non-parole period of two years.

Court documents revealed officers attached to Riverina Police District executed a search warrant at a property in Faye Avenue, Kooringal, about 11 am on 21 December 2022.

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They served Bartlett, who lived in a caravan in the property’s front yard, with a Firearm Prohibition Order and a Weapon Prohibition Order.

Asked whether there was anything in the caravan he needed to declare, he told the officers he had a shotgun under his pillow.

Officers searched under the pillow and found a sawn-off double-barrel shotgun, rendered the firearm safe and removed two rounds from the chambers.

After Bartlett was placed under arrest, police questioned him further about whether he had anything else to declare and he responded: “Maybe one in me f—–g cupboard”.


Police found a shortened rifle with a scope attached in a storage area under the seats in Ethan Bartlett’s caravan and removed a live round from the chamber of the firearm. Photo: NSW Police.

Police located a shortened rifle with a scope attached in a storage area under the seats in the caravan and removed a live round from the chamber of the firearm. A magazine was attached to the firearm with ammunition inside.

Police said they also seized a black pistol gel blaster, a green ”assault rifle”-style gel blaster, a set of metal knuckledusters, a set of nunchucks, .22-calibre ammunition, several shotgun shells and gel blaster ammunition, prohibited drugs and several other stolen items (laptops and iPads).

After police conducted checks on the firearms, they found out the shortened shotgun was reported stolen from an address in Leeton in September 2021 and the shortened firearm stolen from an address in Glenfield Park in December 2021.

During his interview, Bartlett told the officers he received the firearms from a person known to him and met the individual twice near Ladysmith and bought the shotgun and rifle.

Police said when they asked Bartlett whether he knew the firearms were stolen, he said: “Well, there’s only, like, there’s only so many ways you can f——g get them, really”.

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Bartlett was aware gel blasters were illegal and admitted they were his, along with the knuckledusters, nunchucks and the 113.16 grams of cannabis.

However, he said the multiple laptops and iPads were given by someone while the rest were given to him to reset. He told police he assumed they were stolen.

Bartlett’s sentence began on 21 December 2022 and is set to expire on 20 June 2026. He will be eligible for parole on 20 December 2024.

The court has also ruled the firearms should be forfeited and destroyed.

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