Joshua Tupe used a stolen Landrover Discovery to rob a Dargaville service station before setting the vehicle alight.
Bad luck for him, the fire extinguished itself only partially damaging clothing he wore during the robbery during the armed hold-up at Caltex Dargaville.
DNA located on the inside of a glove matched his but he denied the offending.
Tupe finally admitted in the Whangarei District Court this week to two charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and single charges of aggravated robbery, arson, escaping from police custody, and possession of cannabis.
Tupe stole a Landrover Discovery worth $23,000 from Whangarei in early November last year and drove the vehicle to Dargaville.
He also unlawfully took a Nissan Navara valued at $60,000 from Ruawai about the same time.
About 9.45pm on November 8 last year, a disguised Tupe drove the Landrover to Caltex on Victoria St in Dargaville and went behind the counter where a female employee was working. He was armed with a 25cm knife and demanded cash and cigarettes.
Tupe got $573 in cash and coins and more than $2354 worth of cigarettes and tobacco.
He then drove to a carpark at Dargaville High School and set the rear seat alight before fleeing the scene.
The seat burnt a large hole in it and the hood lining before extinguishing itself. But the interior was completely smoke-damaged and could not be salvaged.
A grey sweatshirt, a beanie and a glove were found in the back seat.
Tupe denied any involvement when first spoken to by police on December 14 and maintained his innocence even when DNA evidence was put to him on January 11.
After his arrest on January 11, police recovered two-and-a-half cannabis tinnies from his shirt pocket.
While in the custody area of the Dargaville police station, Tupe scaled an internal wall about four-and-a-half metres high, smashed a pane of clear-lite on the roof and got into the roof.
He ran across the roof to the rear of the station, jumped down and was arrested by a waiting police officer.
Tupe was remanded back in custody for sentencing on April 18.