'Good tackle bro' burglar jailed

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
John Morris tackled a burglar and kept him down until police arrived. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times
John Morris tackled a burglar and kept him down until police arrived. Photo / Bay of Plenty Times

Two prolific burglars - who between them have notched up 92 convictions - have been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Adrian Arthur Matetaka, 49, from Brookfield, who has 27 prior burglary convictions, pleaded guilty in Tauranga District Court yesterday to yet another burglary charge.

In a separate case, Parkvale man James Jimmy Dixon, 39, was also sent to jail after he was caught breaking into a woman's house on January 12. Dixon had 63 previous convictions for burglary before the latest offence.

Tauranga police Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said it was great to see the two men off the streets.

The Western Bay police area crime prevention manager said it was extremely satisfying for police to catch burglars on the job.

"Front line police officers are passionate about catching criminals, especially burglars. Burglary is one of those crimes that has a lasting effect on the victim, given the nature of having your home invaded. Many victims have said that knowing who was responsible for their burglary helped them get over the effects of being burgled,'' he said.

Matetaka was caught after he broke into a rented house in Tay St, Mount Maunganui about 12.30pm on January 9 this year.

The police summary of facts says Matetaka broke into the victim's property but was seen by members of the public who surrounded the property as he tried to escape after climbing out a window.

Matetaka was stopped and restrained outside until police arrived.

When questioned by police he admitted he had been looking for money.

The Bay of Plenty Times last week reported that one of the four members of the public who caught Matetaka was Bay of Plenty Regional Council senior pollution officer John Morris.

After being pulled to the ground, Matetaka told Mr Morris "that was a good tackle bro''.

Matetaka's lawyer Rebekah Webby told Judge Thomas Ingram that her client was "disappointed in himself'' after staying out of trouble for seven or eight months.

Matetaka had been living with his mother but after a relationship break down with her had reverted back to his old ways to try to get some money to make a fresh start.

But Judge Ingram said Matetaka was a repeat burglar with 27 previous burglary convictions and the rest of his criminal record was ``a long way from flash''.

In the second case, Dixon, 39, was caught red-handed after he broke into a woman's Ngarimu St home about 12.15am on January 12.

Dixon who had climbed inside the house through a window was caught after the female occupant turned on the light and found him standing in her bedroom.

When confronted Dixon fled but he was apprehended shortly after by police.

Dixon pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary and a breach of parole conditions in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

His lawyer Olivia Brittain who revealed in court that her client had 63 previous convictions for burglary, urged the judge to take into account that Dixon did not know the victim was home, nothing was taken and there was also no damage to the property.

Judge Ingram said he had to take into account Dixon's previous convictions, and his most recent jail sentences included four years imposed in March 2008 for eight burglaries in 2007/08 and some time last year for unlawfully being in an enclosed yard.

Speaking outside court, Mr Wright-St Clair noted one of the two prolific criminals was caught thanks to the help of a member of the public.

The community's help by reporting any suspicious activity was vital to police making more arrests and he urged people to take on board the police motto; See Something, Say Something.

"If members of the public are concerned at any time about suspicious activity in their neighbourhood they should not hesitate to contact the police, either by dialling 111 or by calling their local police station.''

Mr Wright-St Clair said information could also be reported anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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