Selwyn soft shoe burglar admits raids

Court House-doorwayA soft-shoe burglar who spent months raiding properties across the Selwyn District has admitted 42 charges.

Luke Alexander Reich, 21, of Burnham, was a cool-headed prowler who often entered and searched through houses while residents were asleep inside.

He was not even put off when people disturbed his early morning visits.

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier detailed his offending from November to February when he pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court on Monday to 26 charges of burglary, 10 thefts, and 6 charges of unlawfully interfering with cars.

He would get around the district on his motorcycle, often targeting just cash as he broke into houses, garages, and vehicles.

He would take off his boots and put on soft shoes to minimise the sound of his footsteps on gravel driveways and when inside houses.

At a house in Darfield at 1.30am on December 30, he tripped a driveway sensor which alerted the occupants who came outside.

Reich hid in a treeline until it was safe to escape, but had to leave his boots behind because of police patrolling the area.

Police said the offending began in the rural area north of Rolleston in early November but expanded to other areas of the Selwyn District.

Reich would usually make his raids between 2am and 6am, targeting buildings and vehicles and taking cash, firearms and other property. He never damaged anything during his break-ins.

Sometimes electronics were taken, or cash taken from wallets. Often, small amounts of money were taken from car glove boxes.

At one property, he took a laptop and a box of chocolates. He left the laptop in its backpack at the end of the driveway and police found a trail of chocolate wrappers to another farmhouse where a car had been entered.

At a Burnham house, he took $200 cash, and searched a wallet and handbag, and then took a Christmas present from under the Christmas tree. The parcel was found unwrapped and the child’s present inside left neatly under a tree along the driveway.

He stole several firearms from properties in Burnham and West Melton. Some of the weapons were later found among the material from the various burglaries found at Reich’s address.

At 5am on February 13, he entered an address at Rolleston through an unlocked door and began looking through the house. He took a small amount of cash from a purse in the kitchen before going into the attached garage.

When he opened a vehicle, it began beeping because the keys were in the ignition. This woke a girl sleeping in the room over the garage and she told her father. The father found Reich still in the car and restrained him until the police arrived.

Reich has been in custody since his arrest and he will remain in custody pending sentencing on August 24.

Judge David Saunders recorded his guilty pleas today and asked for a pre-sentencing report and updated victim impact statements. He said many people had been upset around the Christmas period by having their homes burgled.

Reich is unemployed but has virtually no previous convictions.

Home detention has been ruled out as a possible sentence.


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