Smil­ing thief jailed for spree


A smil­ing shoplifter was ‘‘off his face’’ on metham­phetamine dur­ing a 12-day spree that saw him steal items val­ued at more than $4500.

Ralph Ho­hepa Pereira, 28, was sen­tenced to 12 months prison at Ro­torua District Court on Mon­day for the mam­moth shoplift­ing ses­sion that saw him com­mit 15 theft and shoplift­ing charges over a 12 day pe­riod begin­ning on May 15, 2017.

Pereira’s lawyer Kathy Jack­son said he ‘‘is or was a sig­nif­i­cant metham­phetamine user’’.

She said that while com­mit­ting the crimes, he was ‘‘prob­a­bly off his face’’.

Jack­son said Pereira had tar­geted busi­nesses such as Briscoes, Rebel Sport and Count­down in the be­lief that they were large busi­nesses and so would be less af­fected by the loss.

‘‘He has since had time to re­flect on that,’’ she said.

Sen­tenc­ing Pereira, Judge Ma­ree McKen­zie said Pereira’s drug prob­lems were at the root of the of­fend­ing, which she de­scribed as ‘‘steal­ing to feed a drug habit’’.

‘‘You will con­tinue to of­fend un­less you ad­dress your metham­phetamine habit,’’ she said.

Ro­torua’s Briscoes was a par­ticu- lar tar­get, with Pereira steal­ing goods val­ued at $2499.97 from the home­ware re­tailer, rob­bing the store twice in the same day.

De­tails of his of­fend­ing are out­lined in the po­lice sum­mary of facts, begin­ning on May 15 with the theft of $100 worth of gro­ceries from the Fen­ton St Count­down.

There were fur­ther thefts from Rebel Sport in Ro­torua and Hamil­ton, a num­ber of petrol sta­tions and Farm­ers in Ro­torua - where he stole two hair straight­en­ers val­ued at $399.98.

His first visit to Briscoes was on June 24, leav­ing the store with $500 worth of bed­ding items.

The very next day Pereira hit Briscoes twice, tak­ing a knife block, 11 piece cook­ware set and a Scan­pan stock­pot.

‘‘He walked past the check­out and smiled at the staff mem­ber as he left the shop mak­ing no at­tempt to pay,’’ the sum­mary of facts stated.

July 7 saw a re­turn to Count­down on Fen­ton St, this time de­part­ing with a trol­ley full of gro­ceries val­ued at $615.59, be­fore his fi­nal Briscoes visit.

Pereira walked out of the store with two vac­uum clean­ers and a suit­case - worth a com­bined $750.

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