One of New Zealand's most prolific career criminals has been jailed for seven years today; four years to the day that he pinched a rare $130,000 motorcycle.
Anthony Ricardo Sannd, also known as Romanov, appeared for sentencing in the Auckland District Court this morning.
The Herald can now reveal that Sannd, referred to as Romanov in court, was originally convicted of burglary and sentenced to seven years behind bars for the theft.
But he successfully appealed his conviction and was granted a retrial.
That retrial went ahead in March and for a second time a jury found him guilty of burglary for stealing the $130,000 Ducati Desmosedici RR motorcycle.
The bike has never been recovered.
"Perhaps in a cruel twist of irony, today is 4 May 2017 and it was some four years ago on 4 May 2013 that Mr Romanov and his associate executed this burglary," said Judge Eddie Paul.
The court heard the theft of the bike was premeditated "meticulously".
Police found evidence in Sannd's bedroom including a list of bikes, the Ducati at the top, details about the victim's property that showed the thief had "scoped" it out before the offending, paint stripping gloves and new motorbike tyres.
In court Sannd closed his eyes through much of the sentencing, covering his face with one hand.
He declined to address Judge Paul in person at the hearing.
The Crown sought a sentence of eight to eight and a half years in prison.
Sannd's lawyer suggested a sentence of three years was more appropriate.
But Judge Paul took a hard line and sent Sannd back to jail for seven years.
Sannd must serve half of that sentence before he will be eligible for parole.
Judge Paul said Sannd had refused to accept responsibility for his crime and continued to maintain his innocence.
In addition Sannd stole the bike just a year after he was released from a long stint in prison and was still subject to post-release conditions.
He said that "clearly" showed Sannd had no remorse.
"You have four decades of offending and lengthy terms of imprisonment have not ultimately kept the community safe from you," Judge Paul said.
"Even while on release conditions you are prepared to carry out serious property offences.
"You have a total disregard for your victims."
How Sannd got away with a $130,000 motorbike
The court heard how Sannd managed to get the rare Ducati out from under it's owner's nose in the cover of darkness.
Sannd was released from prison in 2012 and was still subject to post-release conditions when he stole the bike a year later.
The great bike heist took place at midnight on a rural property at Waitoki north of Auckland.
Sannd and an associate went to the property knowing exactly where the Ducati was and how to get it.
They damaged metal security gates to get in, then went on foot to a shed behind the main house where the owner, his wife and daughter were asleep.
The broke into the shed and, slowly and quietly, wheeled the Ducati and a second Chopper motorbike out, coasting them back up the driveway.
If they had started either bike the owners would have woken.
Once at the road, they started the Ducati but the Chopper had a flat battery.
They took off with the former and dumped the latter by the mangled gates.
The owner's boarder arrive home from work and spotted the Chopper, realised the gates were damaged and raised the alarm.
The court heard today that Sannd had "meticulously" planned the theft.
The Ducati was one of only 1500 produced and only 10 ever entered New Zealand.
"It was very much a motorcycle for the enthusiast," Judge Paul said.
"And during the course of the trial ... the expert evidence was accepted that in motorcycle terms, it was a work of art."
Sannd made a list of them and set about finding out who owned them.
He used pre-paid Prezzy visa cards to purchase motorcycle ownership details from the website Car Jam and then decide the Ducati at Waitoki was the best bet.
He then used Google to get a real-life view of the property which enabled him to locate exactly where the house was in relation to the shed, both up a 500-metre-long driveway well away from the road.
Sannd's lists and plans were kept in a black folder in his bedroom and were later found by police, along with gloves, paint stripper, two new motorcycle tyres and a description of how he would alter the Ducati so it was no longer recognisable.
His plans of a clean getaway were foiled when a balaclava found at the scene of the crime came back with a DNA match.
It was Sannd's DNA, and he was arrested.
The court heard that after the burglary the owner of the bike and his family were forced to move.
His wife and daughter were terrified and none of the family felt comfortable in their own home anymore.
Their insurance company did not pay out for the Ducati or the $3000 of clothing and gear Sannd and his associate pinched.
None of the stolen items have ever been located.
No sign of stopping
At sentencing today Judge Paul lambasted Sannd for his expansive criminal history.
That including seven convictions for burglary and a further six for aggravated burglary.
Judge Paul said Sannd showed a total disregard fro his victims and even parole conditions did not deter him from reoffending.
"You were on a curfew [when the Ducati was stolen], but none of that affected your decision to carry out this serious crime," he said.
"Your previous convictions ... are significant and that cannot be ignored.
"You are 65 years old Mr Romanov and you continue and persist in offending.
"This was no, with respect, garden-variety burglary. This was a meticulous and careful burglary of a unique, high-end item of property."
He said Sannd's sentence had to reflect the seriousness of the crime, his previous convictions and apparently willingness to ignore the law and his conditions as well as his lack of remorse.
Judge Paul imposed a minimum non-parole term of three-and-a-half years, saying there was no way Sannd should be eligible for early release after serving the standard third of his time.
"There can be no argument that in your particular circumstances a minimum term must be set," he said. He would be almost 69 years old when released if he only serves the minimum term.
The life and times of Ricardo Romanov
Sannd has a colourful, lengthy criminal history.
In 1984 Sannd, then 33, and cohorts got away with $294,529 in an armed robbery at a North Shore supermarket.
At the time it was the most money stolen in an armed hold-up.
He was jailed again in 1993 for armed robbery but that did not deter him.
In August 1998 he rode his motorbike to the Auckland Art Gallery.
Armed with a pistol in one hand and a shotgun in the other, he stormed in and stole a famous artwork.
Sannd pulled James Tissot's 1874 masterpiece Over the Top from the wall, pulled the canvas from its frame and put it into a bag before taking off again on his motorbike.
For that crime Sannd was sent down for 16 years.
In 2012 he was released but a year later he was charged with the theft of the Ducati.