Burglar left own belongings behind

Mark Arthur (29) broke into a Dunedin home but left his bag behind. Photo: Rob Kidd.
Mark Arthur (29) broke into a Dunedin home but left his bag behind. Photo: Rob Kidd.
When burgling a house it is prudent to ensure you do not leave a bag of your personal belongings behind.

Safe to say, 29-year-old Mark Shan Arthur will not be receiving any prizes for his criminal nous.

The Dunedin man was arrested not long after the burglary on January 11, when DNA from the items he left behind at the Musselburgh home he broke into was traced back to him.

It is not the first time Arthur has been before the court.  In 2010, his friend fell off a 4m retaining wall after the pair had consumed alcohol and LSD.

While ambulance officers were assisting the injured party, Arthur climbed  into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove  off.

One of the medics chased him and he abandoned the briefly stolen ambulance after a 50m joyride.

Police later found and him and he returned a breath-alcohol reading of 827mcg.

Arthur’s counsel, Maddy Phillipps, said his latest indiscretion also involved alcohol.

She told the Dunedin District Court yesterday her client had stopped using drugs some days earlier and had drunk alcohol to combat the withdrawal symptoms he was experiencing.

The binge led to him stumbling to a former childhood friend’s house.

"In his intoxicated state, he felt compelled to enter the house," Ms Phillipps said.

Arthur got in through an unlocked back door while a man, his wife and their two children slept.

Next he gathered items from the kitchen and lounge and wrapped them in a large blanket he found on a chair.

"The items selected were nothing short of bizarre," Judge Michael Crosbie said.

They included food, a DVD player, a TV, a purse, a cat’s toy and an old calendar.

Arthur then took two jackets hanging up in the hallway.

At that point, one of the occupants woke up to get a glass of water and the defendant bolted from the rear door with the garments.

"However, in the lounge he had left behind a shopping bag containing personal items, which he had brought with him," the summary said.

It was only the following morning when the residents found the bag that they realised they had been burgled, it said.

Ms Phillipps said the motive for the break-in was "neither commercial nor malicious" and her client said he had no memory of committing the crime.

Judge Crosbie said the victims had taken a charitable stance after meeting Arthur and wished him well with his  polytech accountancy studies.

"It probably underscores one of the real benefits of restorative justice where they can see you face to face and see perhaps you’re a real person and not some imaginary figure who might come back and have another crack," the judge said.

Arthur was sentenced to six months’ home detention and 100 hours’ community work and was ordered  to pay $200 for the two coats, which were not recovered.