A thief who targeted tourist vehicles and was influenced by gang members during a month-long crime spree turned his back on proceedings as he was sentenced in court.

Hoori Jordan Puriri, 21, appeared in Whangarei District Court yesterday on five charges of unlawfully interfering with a motor vehicle, three of theft, two of dangerous driving, sustained loss of traction and another of failing to remained stopped for police.

Puriri was full of smiles in the dock just before he was sentenced until Judge de Ridder granted the media permission to take his photo.

For the remainder of his court appearance he either stood with his back up against the glass screen or put his head in his arms as he rested on the top of the door of the dock.


Judge de Ridder said the crimes spanned a month from 11 November to December 20 last year.

They began when Puriri was called to go and pick up his father from a garage. He deliberately caused the tyres to spin for about 40 metres and ended with him on the wrong side of the road. After an argument with bystanders Puriri drove off again, with the tyres spinning before he crashed into another vehicle before speeding off. Eleven days later he broke into three cars belonging to tourists parked on Mair Rd near Marsden Point. He stole items from two of them. In December Puriri went to a carpark in Abbey Cave Rd and broke into vehicles belonging to tourists. An on December 19 Puriri was involved in a police pursuit through Tikipunga. Police had to abandon the pursuit due to Puriri's dangerous driving. When he did stop and a police officer was approaching him, he drove off again.

Lawyer Leon Penney said Puriri had been involved in serious offending, but while he had been on electronic bail for the past two-and-a-half months he had not offended. He said Puriri had a limited history of similar offending.

He said his grandmother had been a positive influence on him and and she was ready to take him under her wing if he was granted home detention.

Judge de Ridder said Puriri's offending against tourists was "deliberate and premeditated".

On the charges of unlawfully interfering with vehicles he was sentenced to five months home detention and subject to special conditions for six months after completing the sentence. He was disqualified from driving for nine months on the dangerous driving and and another three for failing to remained stopped.