Man burgled school to support drug habit

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture by Rebecca Grunwell

A MAN who repeatedly burgled St Mary’s Primary School earlier this year was under threat by gang members to whom he owed money for drugs, his lawyer told Gisborne District Court.

Tony Peter White, 29, builder, admitted burgling six rooms at the school on six occasions between May and August.
His guilty pleas to all charges came after an indication from the court of a home detention sentence.

Counsel Elliot Lynch said it was accepted the final sentence would be a term of imprisonment, likely to be within the range for home detention, but his client had wanted to ensure that option would be imposed.

Judge Mina Wharepouri imposed an eight-month term of detention, in line with the earlier indication. Post-detention conditions were imposed for six months.

Reparation was not ordered. The school’s insurers had covered the loss, the court was told.

Two of the projectors White took were located at his home.

Mr Lynch told the court White was unemployed and in financial difficulty at the time. He was depressed and had developed a drug habit.

He got into debt with gang members who threatened him with physical harm if he did not pay up.

That led to his first-time involvement in property offending, for which he was now remorseful.

Health problems

White was suffering other health problems at the time, requiring hospitalisation after unsuccessful surgery.

He had the support of family. His father, concerned about White’s troubles, had returned from Australia. White’s brother had offered his address for electronically-monitored bail.

White admitted he burgled the school on May 26, June 7, July 14, July 25, August 2 and August 4, taking goods with a total value of at least $4000.

A police summary said on two of the earlier occasions he was with the same associate. On the fifth occasion he was with another associate. The pair cracked the screen of a television set they were trying to remove from a wall bracket.

The first burglary included taking two computer monitors, the value of which was unknown. The second, third and fourth burglaries each involved taking ceiling projectors, each valued at about $700, while the fifth and sixth burglaries each involved television sets, valued at $800.

Damage to school buildings ran to thousands of dollars. Windows, including some in sliding doors, were smashed and there was damage to door frames and locks caused by a crowbar. Ceilings were damaged, one extensively, as projectors were ripped down.

Students and staff suffered through lost resources and learning disruptions.

During the July 25 burglary, White cut his hand and left blood on an outside door. He was finally caught after a security guard assigned to monitor the school, saw him arrive at about 1.30am on August 4, and alerted police.

Officers waiting

On that occasion he took a TV set and was walking with it to his car, where officers were waiting.

Interviewed soon after, he told police he went back on that occasion for a TV set because he and an associate had damaged one in their effort a couple of days earlier. He wanted to see if he could get one by himself.

He first noticed the television sets in classrooms while playing with his children at the school grounds one weekend.

He had wanted exclusive ownership of the projectors he took with his associate so bought them from him.

A MAN who repeatedly burgled St Mary’s Primary School earlier this year was under threat by gang members to whom he owed money for drugs, his lawyer told Gisborne District Court.

Tony Peter White, 29, builder, admitted burgling six rooms at the school on six occasions between May and August.
His guilty pleas to all charges came after an indication from the court of a home detention sentence.

Counsel Elliot Lynch said it was accepted the final sentence would be a term of imprisonment, likely to be within the range for home detention, but his client had wanted to ensure that option would be imposed.

Judge Mina Wharepouri imposed an eight-month term of detention, in line with the earlier indication. Post-detention conditions were imposed for six months.

Reparation was not ordered. The school’s insurers had covered the loss, the court was told.

Two of the projectors White took were located at his home.

Mr Lynch told the court White was unemployed and in financial difficulty at the time. He was depressed and had developed a drug habit.

He got into debt with gang members who threatened him with physical harm if he did not pay up.

That led to his first-time involvement in property offending, for which he was now remorseful.

Health problems

White was suffering other health problems at the time, requiring hospitalisation after unsuccessful surgery.

He had the support of family. His father, concerned about White’s troubles, had returned from Australia. White’s brother had offered his address for electronically-monitored bail.

White admitted he burgled the school on May 26, June 7, July 14, July 25, August 2 and August 4, taking goods with a total value of at least $4000.

A police summary said on two of the earlier occasions he was with the same associate. On the fifth occasion he was with another associate. The pair cracked the screen of a television set they were trying to remove from a wall bracket.

The first burglary included taking two computer monitors, the value of which was unknown. The second, third and fourth burglaries each involved taking ceiling projectors, each valued at about $700, while the fifth and sixth burglaries each involved television sets, valued at $800.

Damage to school buildings ran to thousands of dollars. Windows, including some in sliding doors, were smashed and there was damage to door frames and locks caused by a crowbar. Ceilings were damaged, one extensively, as projectors were ripped down.

Students and staff suffered through lost resources and learning disruptions.

During the July 25 burglary, White cut his hand and left blood on an outside door. He was finally caught after a security guard assigned to monitor the school, saw him arrive at about 1.30am on August 4, and alerted police.

Officers waiting

On that occasion he took a TV set and was walking with it to his car, where officers were waiting.

Interviewed soon after, he told police he went back on that occasion for a TV set because he and an associate had damaged one in their effort a couple of days earlier. He wanted to see if he could get one by himself.

He first noticed the television sets in classrooms while playing with his children at the school grounds one weekend.

He had wanted exclusive ownership of the projectors he took with his associate so bought them from him.

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Hmmm . . . - 21 days ago
A more apt title would be "Man Who Burgled Nice Little School SIX TIMES Gets a Good Old Wet Bus Ticket Wrist Slapping"

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