Motorhome destruction' sees man jailed

By Sandra Conchie

A retired Tauranga couple who had their motorhome, worth more than $100,000, stolen and then torched by a 21-year-old local man are disgusted he has received only 20 months jail.

The Welcome Bay couple aged in their 60s, who do not wish to be named, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that Jordan Hall's jail sentence was woefully inadequate. They had expected him to get at least four to five years' jail.

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Part of Hall's 20-month sentence includes time for stealing a solo mother-of-four's uninsured car, which he subsequently crashed. It also comes on top of a two years and three months jail sentence he received on August 27 for aggravated burglary and cannabis possession.

The aggravated burglary charge related to Hall waving a wrench at woman after she discovered him on her Waitaha Rd property on July 31, before running off.

Hall was sentenced in Tauranga District Court last week by Judge Louis Bidois, after he earlier pleaded guilty to charges of arson, burglary and unlawfully taking a car.

Those offences were committed between July 15-18 this year.

The court was told how on July 15, Hall had stolen the 7.3m motorhome from a secure lockup in Brook St and drove it to an associate's rural Oropi property, then abandoned it after it became stuck in a swamp.

The motorhome was subsequently recovered by police and towed to Rowe Motors but three days later, at 2am, Hall climbed the security fence and set fire to a mattress inside the motorhome before fleeing in another vehicle also stored at the yard.

The motorhome was gutted in the ensuing blaze.

Hall, who had crashed the second victim's Holden stationwagon through a security fence as he fled, later abandoned the car after he crashed it into bush at the end of a local cul-de-sac.

Fortunately, police had already collected DNA and fingerprint evidence from the motorhome, which identified Hall as the culprit.

The owners of the motorhome said that when the vehicle was first recovered it had been completely stripped and trashed inside.

"I'd just completed servicing the motorhome and cut and polished it ready for our holiday this month, and when I was first told it was stolen my stomach dropped through the floor," the man said.

"When it was first recovered it was a total mess, it was devastating. The insurance assessors hadn't even decided whether it was worth completely rebuilding or not, when we got the phone call telling us it had been completely burnt out. I couldn't believe it. It was absolutely devastating news," he said.

The man said that, while the motorhome was insured and their insurance company paid out $120,000, their planned holiday had to be put on hold. He and his wife had spent $4000-$5000 travelling around the North Island looking for a replacement.

"We had saved a long time to buy a motorhome and spent a lot of money on making it completely self-sufficient for our needs. It is absolutely gut-wrenching that someone could destroy it just for the hell of it.

"It's felt like someone had broken into our home and burnt it down."

The man said that not only is he out of pocket, so is the insurance company and the other victims at the centre of Hall's offending.

Judge Bidois told Hall that his "premeditated, wanton destruction of valuable property just to save your own neck", then taking the other vehicle and crashing it, clearly had a devastating impact on his victims, who had suffered substantial losses.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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