Graeme Richard Brand’s “pretty dumb burglary” has brought him a 13-month jail sentence.
Brand burgled Cortado’s Restaurant on the corner of Somerfield and Strickland Streets about 4am on January 24.
Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave described it as a pretty dumb burglary, and added: “This was a particularly stupid piece of dishonesty – the burglary of a restaurant virtually under the nose of the local police station”.
Brand, a 31-year-old Parklands man with a significant criminal history, was quickly caught nearby with a co-offender and the cash they had stolen from the restaurant was recovered.
The co-offender, 37-year-old Michelle Joy Tagestad, of St Martins, has pleaded guilty separately and will be sentenced in March.
Brand’s defence counsel Todd Nicholls said the offending took place at a time when Brand was under financial pressure after Work and Income New Zealand cut off his benefit.
He said Brand apologised to the victims, and was willing to meet them at a restorative justice meeting. He acknowledged that he was the main offender.
Judge Neave noted 27 previous burglary convictions on Brand’s record.
At the time of his latest burglary, he was living under release conditions and he was also on bail for two petrol drive-off thefts.
He said Brand would probably be helped by rehabilitation programmes including an alcohol assessment, and noted he was already wait-listed to see a departmental psychologist.
Brand did not have an alcohol problem, “but clearly when you do drink you make very poor decisions”, the judge told him. “The solution for you being out of work is not to go and steal from people who are working.” He jailed Brand for 13 months for the burglary and two thefts, and ordered him to pay $60 reparations for the stolen petrol.