A man who broke into a shed on a Katikati orchard and stole a motorbike valued at $7500 was caught after he left a flick knife with his name engraved on the handle at the scene.
Tumu Tangiia, 36, was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court yesterday to seven months' home detention after he earlier pleaded guilty to three charges, including aggravated burglary.
He also admitted charges of breaching an earlier sentence of community work and a breach of the Covid-19 lockdown rules.
The court heard the armed burglary was committed at a Tetley Rd orchard in Katikati on April 27 during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
Tangiia, who was told by an associate where to find a hidden key, used it to open a storage shed and stole a 350cc motorbike valued at $7500.
He was identified as the burglar by police after he left a set of secateurs and a
flick knife at the scene, the latter having his name engraved on its handle, the court heard.
He told police he sold the bike, which has since been recovered, for $800.
The community work breach related to Tangiia failing to report to the Community Probation service on 16 occasions after being sentenced to 85 hours of community work in May 2019.
He has subsequently completed 82 hours of that sentence.
Crown prosecutor Ella Collis argued a sentence start point of 20 to 24 months' prison was appropriate before discounts for pleas, remorse, and the contents of a cultural report.
Collis told Judge John MacDonald the Crown did not oppose a home detention sentence if it got within range.
Tangiia's lawyer Thomas Haare argued home detention was the appropriate outcome.
Haare said his client was genuinely remorseful and handed up a letter of apology from Tangiia addressed to his victim to the judge.
"I would describe this as a poverty crime as Mr Tangiia had just lost his job and he and his partner didn't have any money to buy food," he said.
Haare said his client was willing to pay the $400 insurance excess.
Judge MacDonald said bringing a weapon to the scene of a burglary, especially a knife, was a concerning aggravating feature of this crime, both to the court and the victim.
The judge noted Tangiia had several prior convictions, including 19 for burglary but the said the last burglary conviction was in 2006.
Judge MacDonald said reports before him revealed Tangiia and his partner, who had two children, were seasonal workers and their financial circumstances were "clearly tight".
"Mr Haare describes this a poverty crime, and while I understand your difficulties, the burglary was premeditated and there is just no excuse for what you did," he told Tangiia.
Judge MacDonald said while the sentence start point must be prison, he was prepared to impose seven months' home detention, followed by six months of release conditions.
The judge said the sentence he imposed took into account Tangiia's guilty pleas, remorse and the "significant disadvantages and significant trauma" he had suffered in life.
"No doubt this led to your offending, but I hope you will take this opportunity to make changes and fully comply with the conditions of your sentence and not reoffend."
The judge also ordered Tangiia pay $400 reparation to his victim.