John Weekes is an NZME News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Man who taunted police on Facebook spared jail

Michael Hagger at his Edgecumbe home on home detention. Photo / Lani Hepi
Michael Hagger at his Edgecumbe home on home detention. Photo / Lani Hepi

A man who earned notoriety by taunting police online says he is ready to give up his bad ways.

When police were hunting for Michael Shane Hagger in June, the Tauhara Paetiki neighbourhood policing team placed a "wanted" notice on a Facebook page. Hagger found the post and responded with the comment: "hoo rah". The short exchange was shared online by thousands.

Hagger told the Herald on Sunday he had 178 previous convictions for dishonesty and it was time for a change. He was sentenced this week to four months' home detention for shoplifting.

"In light of all my previous convictions, I suppose I'm lucky to have got that," he said from his home in Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty.

Hagger said he stole two TVs from The Warehouse in Taupo. The 34-year-old said he was "prepared to go to jail" but the justice system had taken note of recent progress. He had held down regular jobs and undergone rehabilitation.

Hagger said he wanted to work in psychology.

"The judge could see my improvements and was prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt."

Hagger relished the attention his taunt attracted but said he was ready to grow up and stop stealing. "In all honesty, people on low income cannot survive and we do what we must to support and provide for those we love ... Later in life we mature and realise how our actions affect others, victims and loved ones."

- Herald on Sunday

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