Thief to get rehab before sentencing

By Imran Ali

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A Whangarei man who targeted parked cars, including tourists' vehicles, and a church for money to fund his gambling addiction will be admitted to a rehabilitation clinic for treatment.

Gregory Mackie, 42, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court yesterday on nine charges of theft, eight of burglary, one of using a document for pecuniary advantage and another of intentional damage.

However, his lawyer Roger Bowden sought an adjournment to enable Mackie to be enrolled at Odyssey House for appropriate treatment for drugs, alcohol and gambling.

Mackie breached his community-detention sentence when committing the string of burglaries last year.

Among the swag of offences, he rammed the car of a Whangarei man who helped two foreign tourists after Mackie had broken into their campervan at the Uretiti camping ground on October 23 last year.

He also broke into parked cars outside the information centre on Tarewa Rd, at Barge Park grounds, twice at the Ruakaka race course, Waipu, Boswell St, and Mangawhai Rd at Kaiwaka. Mackie stole from the Kamo Bowling Club twice.

He took $2300 cash from a safe on September 5, 2012, and four wallets containing personal items worth $200.

As well, he used a credit card he stole from the club to withdraw $400 from an ATM in Waipu.

Genesis Stadium at Kensington, Waipu Presbyterian Hall and the Elim Christian Centre were also burgled.

Mr Bowden said Mackie first applied to go to Odyssey House last November but since no dates for admission were available as yet, he asked the court to remand him in custody until he was accepted into the programme.

He said his client initially did well in Australia but lost money and his wife through drugs and gambling. He continued to gamble back in New Zealand but Mr Bowden said he had now reconnected with his church.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Brocas opposed the application, saying the court should get on with sentencing.

Judge Harvey said he would approve the application but did not indicate a likely sentence on completion of rehabilitation treatment. Mackie, he said, had fallen from grace in a big way.

- Northern Advocate

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