Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

'Jesus Christ' steals from neighbours for tools and food

A man named Jesus Christ has been sentenced to home detention after a burglary spree.

Emmanuel Jesus Christ Prasad, 27, broke into 13 of his neighbours' Massey homes and took food and things he could sell to pawn shops.

He was yesterday sentenced to 10 months' home detention at the Waitakere District Court for the "spree" by Judge Kevin Glubb who said he needed to deter burglaries but accepted Prasad had mental and physical health issues which contributed to his offending.

"The impact that burglaries have on members of our communities is huge - it unsettles them in terms of their sense of security and causes them to really reflect on the safety of their homes and their properties," the judge said.

"Frankly, when I look at offending such as this and the spree, burglary is becoming a scourge in our community and you are contributing to that scourge - it must stop."

13 houses within 1km of house

Prasad's burglary spate started in December last year and over the next six months he broke into 13 houses and garden sheds within 1km from his house to take things he could on-sell at Cash Converters and Dollar Dealers.

One night he was caught in the act by a woman who was sleeping in the lounge because of renovations.

According to the summary of facts, about 11.30pm Prasad went to the home on Keegan Drive and tried opening the back door but when he couldn't get in, he moved to the front of the house.

He eventually got in the door and shone a torch into the house, but the woman was woken by the locks being rattled and shouted at him: "Get out of my house".

Prasad told her he thought someone else lived there and left, without taking anything.

Another of his victims told the Herald the burglary has left her feeling unsafe in her own home and emotionally unsettled, especially because the first time it happened it was during the afternoon when she was home.

Jennifer Skelton, who also lives on Keegan Drive, said Prasad broke into her husband's truck to take power tools then returned later to take her son's BMX.

"How do you explain to little children that someone's been coming to our house and taking our stuff - they were really paranoid, they were really scared about it."

The family is now looking at moving because of how unsettled they feel in the area.

Throughout his spree Prasad mostly took power tools and food, including kilogram blocks of cheese, tins of baked beans and spaghetti, wine and frozen meals totalling about $14,815 worth of food and drink.

After being arrested following a police team tasked with checking secondhand dealers for stolen property, Prasad admitted his crimes and said he burgled for the money and "also for the excitement of being in people's houses".

Sentencing in court

Yesterday, the court heard how when his mother was hospitalised for a serious illness and Prasad was left to take care of his younger sibling and relative, his offending spiked - he took food to eat and items to sell.

A psychiatric report prepared for the sentencing said Prasad suffers from serious physical health issues and mental illness but he also had an entitled attitude towards others' property - especially when he considered he was in "financial need".

"That mental health report provides significant insight into what I observe to be a sad, dislocated and challenging life that's confronting you," Judge Glubb said.

However, there was considerable planning and premeditation to the burglaries because he went out and found suitable targets, the judge said.

It was also repeat offending and while many of the crimes didn't include entry to the houses, at least five times it did, and almost all the burglaries were committed late at night.

Judge Glubb started with a sentence of three years in prison before giving discounts for his mental health and guilty plea, leaving an end sentence of 21 months which he converted to 10 months home detention with special and standard release conditions.

An unusual name

The Department of Internal Affairs, which deals with registering birth names, said it doesn't comment on individual cases.

However anyone whose birth is registered in New Zealand must comply with legislation that states the name or combination of names must not:
• cause offence to a reasonable person
• be unreasonably long
• (without good reason) be, include or resemble an official title or rank

- NZ Herald

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