‘Bizarre behaviour’ — jail for bike thefts

Paul Murphy, pictured  in 2020, says he has no idea why he steals from people. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
Paul Murphy, pictured in 2020, says he has no idea why he steals from people. PHOTO: ROB KIDD
A Dunedin kleptomaniac is back behind bars after a 10-day bike-theft spree.

Paul John Murphy, 52, added to his 18 pages of convictions when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday and despite having 35 years of offending behind him, he still had no explanation for his dishonesty.

"He doesn’t drink or take drugs. He doesn’t appear to do this for money," counsel Rhona Daysh said.

"It’s very odd and bizarre behaviour."

On September 18, Murphy was prowling in the student sector.

At 2.56am, he entered an address in Moat St and took a mountainbike, but the transportation was not up to scratch.

In Leith St, he disembarked and found another in an unlocked parking area of a flat.

Just 10 days later, Murphy brazenly returned to the same road and made off with another mountainbike, worth $1000.

This time he was captured on CCTV and easily identified.

The final bike was found disassembled and damaged at his home, the frame discarded in bushes in a nearby park.

Ms Daysh said Murphy’s thieving began at an early age.

"At 5 [he] was bringing things home from the neighbours’ and school and he’s been doing that ever since," she said.

"His parents would say he’d often steal bikes and he had a perfectly good bike at home."

The court heard there had been a plethora of psychological reports, but none had found the root cause of Murphy’s compulsion.

"Well I’m none the wiser either," Judge Emma Smith said.

She said the victims had been severely inconvenienced by the loss of their transportation and, more than that, they all felt a sense of violation.

"You burgle from people’s homes or take their property year after year after year," the judge said.

"You have no care about other people’s property or taking it."

Murphy was convicted of three counts of theft, jailed for four months and ordered to repay his victims a total of $945.