DNA sample catches thief from 2004

By Sandra Conchie

A Tauranga man who broke into three cars seven years ago has appeared in court after his DNA matched blood left at the scene.

A DNA sample was taken from Newton Craig Lawson, 37, of Pyes Pa after he was caught driving while disqualified for the 16th time on October 7. Police can compel anyone charged with certain crimes to provide a DNA sample.

Lawson was required to do so after he failed to stop for a compulsory police breath test.

He evaded police but was spoken to several days later and charged with failing to stop and driving while disqualified (third or subsequent offence). The DNA sample taken from him was analysed and matched the blood smears Lawson left on the driver's door of one of three cars he interfered with.

The cars had been parked in the garage at Paramount Apartments, Maunganui Rd on December 4, 2004. Lawson was charged with the thefts in November 2011 and appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday for sentence. He had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of theft from a car, one charge each of driving while disqualified (third or subsequent) and failing to stop for police.

In 2004, after entering the Paramount Apartments garage Lawson broke into a Toyota, before removing tools. He next removed four alloy wheels from a Mitsubishi. He moved to a third vehicle and used the tools to remove wheels where he cut himself, leaving smears of blood on the driver's door.

His lawyer, Viv Winiata, told Judge Phil Moran that Lawson pleaded guilty despite not remembering the thefts.

Lawson, a partial left-leg amputee, offered to pay full reparation. Judge Moran told him that his crimes could have justified jail. But the judge was satisfied with six months home detention, 15 months disqualification and 50 hours community work. Lawson was also ordered to pay $6864 reparation.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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