Crooked ‘clearing house’ at home detention address

August 10, 2016 | By More

Linwood-102A 42-year-old man ran a “significant criminal enterprise” – a clearing house for stolen cars and property – from the Linwood Avenue house where he was serving home detention.

Police found Eugene Carl Davis’ house strewn with stolen goods, vehicles that had been stripped of identifying marks or dismantled, and a stolen horse float.

“It is hard to imagine more flagrant offending,” said Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert. “You were acting as a clearing house for stolen items – pretty much anything you could get your hands on.”

Davis had run a significant criminal enterprise and caused “a high degree of harm and inconvenience to a lot of people”, said the judge as he jailed him for a total of four years three months on 26 charges.

For a long time, Davis didn’t actually breach his home detention – that would presumably have brought the authorities knocking on his door. But eventually he cut off his tracking bracelet and went on the run in a stolen car, raiding houses and cars in the Arthur’s Pass area.

He had been given a chance with a home detention sentence last year on charges of burglary, unlawfully taking a car, and possession of utensils for taking methamphetamine.

Defence counsel Claire Hislop said he took up the rental of the Linwood Avenue property to serve the sentence but flatmate arrangements fell through and he could no longer afford it on the benefit he was receiving. He told Community Probation about his difficulties.

He fell into arrears with the rent and the place became a dumping ground for a lot of vehicles and equipment. He could not leave the property because of home detention, and the items just kept on arriving. “It got completely out of hand.”

Finally, Davis had no money and was back using methamphetamine when he cut off the bracelet and went to Arthur’s Pass with a co-offender, where he was arrested.

A person also spotted a friend’s stolen horse float on the front lawn of the Linwood Avenue property, and police checks there found stolen property and vehicles. These were linked to thefts, burglaries, and car thefts carried out for months around the city.

Davis was originally charged with several burglaries, but after checking the home detention monitoring records, it showed he was at home when much of the offending happened. The charges were then amended to receiving stolen property.

Judge Gilbert sentenced him for 14 receiving charges, two thefts, three burglaries, and breach of home detention, plus the burglaries and car break-ins at Arthur’s Pass, and resentencing for the earlier burglaries, taking a car, and possession of utensils for using methamphetamine.

He said German tourists had had their car raided by Davis while it was parked at Bealey Spur. “They have since left for home in Germany and you can imagine what they say to their countrymen about how they got on here, at your hands.”

Many of the victims had lost cameras which contained “personal and sentimental memories”. There was an emotional impact from his offending.

Stolen property found probably totalled close to $80,000. He accepted that Davis had returned to using methamphetamine and had been in difficult financial circumstances, but much of the offending was “just gratuitious”. It had involved high value items, and much of the stolen property would never be recovered and returned to its owners. Fortunately, it seemed many victims had good insurance cover.

He noted that Davis had rejected the chance he had been given for a home detention sentence, and there was no chance of him paying reparations.

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