Tsunami alert burglar willing to meet victims

January 10, 2017 | By More

The burglar who ransacked a family’s New Brighton home during the tsunami alert evacuation in November wants to meet the victims at a restorative justice conference.

Tama Tapine, 24, admitted the burglary charge during a video-link appearance from prison in the Christchurch District Court today.

Judge Robert Murfitt remanded him in custody to March 13 on that charge, and a charge of reckless driving he has also admitted.

Defence counsel Trudi Aickin said Tapine was willing to attend the restorative justice conference if the victims – the Mill family from Bower Avenue – were willing to meet him.

Restorative Justice will now contact the parties to see if the meeting can take place. The conferences are usually a chance for offenders to apologise and offer reparations for the losses.

Melissa and Matt Mills and their daughters had electronics, a $15,000 utility vehicle, and equipment for a daughter’s hearing device taken in the burglary.

The stolen items included a $5000 device known as a Roger, which transmits a school teacher’s voice to the pupil’s hearing aid.

Police said Tapine decided to commit a burglary when the New Brighton area was evacuated because of the tsunami risk on the night of the Kaikoura earthquake, on November 14.

He cut a padlock on the locked front gate to get onto the Bower Avenue property, searched a garage and then forced a door to a sleep-out where he did a messy search, choosing items to steal.

He then forced a rear window on the house and ransacked every room, taking various items.

He found the keys to a utility vehicle and loaded the stolen property into it before driving away.

The vehicle was found abandoned in Burnside about 7pm on November 15.

Reparation of $16,206 is being sought by police, but the figure will have to be clarified before an order is made at sentencing.

Tapine declined to say anything when police interviewed him. He has previous convictions.


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