'Hole in the wall' robber admits new burglaries

By Mike Dinsdale of The Northern Advocate -
Simon Kerr. Photo / One News
Simon Kerr. Photo / One News

A man once convicted as part of a notorious "Hole in the Wall Gang" of bank robbers has pleaded guilty to a number of burglaries, and theft from a Dargaville ATM machine that netted more than $112,000 in cash.

Simon Allan Kerr, 51, pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary of commercial premises when he appeared in Whangarei District Court this month.

Kerr pleaded guilty to burglary of the Whangarei Noel Leeming store on April 12 or 13, 2009, burglary of the Pukekohe Noel Leeming store on June 27, 2009, burglary of an Auckland Glengarry Wine shop on May 25 or 26, 2009, and burglary of the KiwiBank ATM machine at the Dargaville NZ Post and Lotto Shop on September 23 or 24, 2009.

Thieves cut telephone lines to appliance trader Noel Leeming at Okara Drive, causing the security system to fail, allowing them to make off with $75,000 worth of equipment, while the theft from the ATM netted at least $112,000.

Kerr has been remanded in custody until February 22 for sentencing, when a number of other burglary charges against him will likely be dropped by police.

Kerr was caught for the burglaries after being on the run from police for almost two years.

A warrant had been issued after forensic work linked him to the Whangarei Noel Leeming burglary.

He became one of New Zealand's best-known criminals about 20 years ago as leader of the "Hole in the Wall" safecrackers in Auckland.

Also this month, Kerr's co-accused in the Dargaville ATM robbery, Tamati William Gray 47, pleaded guilty to the charge involving the ATM machine, burglary of the Kerikeri Subway store on August 17, 2009, and burglary of the Waihi 100 per cent store on August 29, 2009.

Gray was also remanded for sentencing on February 22.

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