$31,000 of stolen gear found at St Albans house

A 29-year-old was buying and selling stolen goods from home because he was unable to work while on electronically monitored bail.

Police found $31,000 worth of stolen gear when they raided James Anthony Finn’s home in Lindsay Street, St Albans, on March 1.

The goods included tools from workmen’s vehicles and building sites, items from a garage and garden shed, a utility vehicle stolen from a backyard, and a $1779 camera taken in a burglary at Wainuiomata, near Wellington.

When police arrived at Finn’s address about 12.30pm, he was walking out the driveway holding the camera. He had advertised it for sale on Facebook for $400.

Finn today pleaded guilty to 27 charges in the Christchurch District Court and Judge Jane Farish remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18.

Police who searched his home also found firearms, ammunition, a cannabis bong and methamphetamine pipes.

They told the court: “Burglary and thefts are a significant problem throughout the region. Professional individuals and groups form complex networks of burglary and receiving rings. This has created a lucrative black market for stolen goods. Only a very small proportion of goods are recovered by the police.

“The impact on the lives of members of the public whose businesses are broken into cannot be overstated.”

Finn said the items belonged to him. He stated that he was unable to work because of he was on electronically monitored bail and he bought and sold items to bring in money.

A few months earlier, on September 10, 2018, Finn had been stopped while disqualified driving on Dudley Street, in Richmond, Christchurch. It was the fourth time he had been caught.

Police searched the car and found knuckle-dusters, a knife, a machete, a modified shotgun, shotgun shells, 50 .22 calibre rounds, and pipes for smoking methamphetamine.

They also found three point bags with 3.29g of methamphetamine, two bags containing 31.61g of cannabis, empty point bags, and $820 cash.

When they checked his cellphone, they found many messages indicating he was actively distributing methamphetamine and cannabis.

Police want to seize the cash under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During the search of his property in March, police found shotgun rounds, 100 rounds of .22 ammunition, a .22 bolt-action rifle with the bolt in and several rounds of ammunition, and two shotguns.

After that search, Finn refused to tell the police the passcode for his cellphone so he has admitted a charge of failing to carry out his obligations under the Search and Surveillance Act as well.