Burglar admits setting club on fire

A burglar has admitted setting fire to the St Albans-Shirley Club – causing $96,000 damage – apparently in an effort to cover his tracks.

Reece William Janetins Skipper, 39, admitted burglary and arson charges at the Christchurch District Court today, and was remanded in custody for sentencing on September 29.

Judge Jane Farish was told he was already on bail on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm – a cut-down .22 rifle found in his car – when he committed the break-in on January 16. He has also admitted that charge.

He went to the club in Crosby Street about 8.15am, and broke in through a locked door.

He searched through bars and office areas before he went into main bar area, poker machine area, and the main office. There he forced open a metal cabinet and took several boxes containing money.

Skipper was unsuccessful when he broke into a poker machine to try to get more money.

He returned to the club about 45min after leaving with the money, poured an accelerant on the floor and set it alight.

A passer-by noticed the fire and workmen at the club were able to put it out.

The police say $96,250 damage was done at the club, almost half of it to the carpet. There was another $10,000 of damage caused and cash taken.

Skipper indicated he was willing to meeting the victims – club officials – at a restorative justice conference.


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