The munchies were the undoing of a mobster caught having a cook-up inside the house he had burgled.
The police’s culinary collar ended Jeremy Koni’s crime spree targeting isolated rural properties in North Canterbury in June 2016.
Now, 34-year-old Koni, from central Christchurch, is beginning a 37-month jail term.
He says he has cut his gang ties but he starts the sentence with “MMM” – the emblem of the “Mighty Mongrel Mob” – emblazoned permanently across his forehead.
Koni had pleaded guilty to nine charges: three burglaries, receiving property stolen in another burglary, unlawfully taking a truck, possession of methamphetamine, and three charges of driving while disqualified.
The disqualified driving charges carried heavier penalties because he had been convicted at least twice before.
Defence counsel Paul Johnson said Koni wanted rehabilitation and he handed Judge Raoul Neave certificates for courses he had completed while in prison on remand. He said Koni had been cutting his ties with the gang.
Judge Neave said Koni had received property taken from a house burglary in June 2016, and had taken some of it to a second hand dealer the day after the break-in.
Three days later he took a truck from outside a home and drove it to commit the succession of offences in the Oxford area, North Canterbury.
He got into one house through a laundry window that had been left open for a cat. A significant amount of property was taken.
He broke windows to get into another property, searched the house, and stole food and alcohol.
“You had the gall to start cooking food for yourself, until you were trapped by the police at the scene of this last burglary,” said the judge.
When Koni was searched, meth was found.
The crime victims reported feelings of fear and insecurity, as well as the inconvenience.
“As we all know, living in this part of the country, dealing with an insurance company is a good way of wasting large parts of your life to very little purpose,” said the judge.
He noted that Koni’s list of previous convictions included an aggravated robbery.
“There is every chance, that perhaps at long last, you know you need to make some changes so you don’t condemn yourself to an endless cycle of imprisonment.
“It is to be hoped that you have put the gang connections behind you. If you have, it is a positive sign,” said Judge Neave jailing Koni for 37 months and disqualifying him from driving for a year. He made no order for reparation payments to the victims.