A Bridge Pa burglar who told police that a collection of attic stairs, a work light, building materials and tools all belonged to his deceased grandfather or uncle will spend the next three years and five months in prison.

Peter John James Gray hoarded $145,873 worth of stolen property between 2015 and 2016.

He appeared before Judge Bridget Mackintosh in the Napier District Court today on three burglary charges and 49 of receiving property.

He was also charged with unlawful powerful possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine utensils.


Police raided his property on August 25, 2016. Gray showed up an hour later in a car with stolen plates and was arrested for driving while suspended, before police searched his car.

Inside, they found two ammunition reloading presses, gunpowder and wadding for reloading.

DNA helped catch Gray, who entered a house in May 2016 on Arataki Rd in Havelock North and stole attic stairs and a work light worth $900.

A crowbar left at the scene, the tool he used to force his way into the property, had his DNA on it.

On July 30 2016, Gray and an associate took a grey Nissan SUV from Gray's grandmother's house and drove to Valley Rd where they entered a shed.

The collection of stolen goods was extensive. Photo / File
The collection of stolen goods was extensive. Photo / File

The pair took items including a Husqvarna hedge trimmer, a Husqvarna power head, with a weed eater and pole saw attachments and other tools with a value of $1900.

On the way home they lost control of the vehicle on a bend of Valley Rd with the SUV landing on its roof, sustaining serious damage.

They both fled, taking the stolen property with them.


In August 2016, he entered a Hastings address and took plaster worth $200. Police later found blood spots which matched Gray's DNA.

Gray originally denied being involved in any burglaries and claimed that all of the items found at his home belonged to his deceased grandfather, uncle or he had purchased himself through the Trader or garage sales.

He said he found a trailer - which was stolen from Bunnings and full of building materials - and took it home to secure it just in case the owner turned up. He went on to say that the owner never showed so he decided to keep it.

Judge Mackintosh told Gray that his offending had caused distress to property owners and builders.

"I think you feel you're a victim of the system in some respects in the way the prosecution was approached. But you have pleaded guilty one month before this was due to go to trial."

The judge noted that Gray, a plumber by trade, had been of some assistance to his local community after reading letters presented to her.

She noted that he was "sorry for the victims" and regretted the way his actions had affected his own family.