Burglar identified through Facebook post sentenced

When Blueskin Nurseries posted this CCTV still on Facebook, Reginald Ozanne was soon caught by...
When Blueskin Nurseries posted this CCTV still on Facebook, Reginald Ozanne was soon caught by police.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Reginald Robert Ozanne presented his partner with some garden art for her birthday.

Within days though, a grainy security-camera photo of a burglar at Blueskin Nurseries a few nights earlier started doing the rounds in the small Waitati community, and further afield.

The 48-year-old's name cropped up and police found the illicit gifts with his partner.

In the two weeks prior, Ozanne had also broken into two cars in the same area and now the community was united in its abhorrence.

"They don't want him there," Judge Emma Smith told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

"They're very unhappy he's in their community."

The three victims, one of whom had extended their hospitality to Ozanne in the past, spoke of the supportive, open and inclusive Waitati community.

They were "entirely disgusted" by what the defendant had done, the judge said.

Blueskin Nurseries co-owner Sally Brown said it was disappointing someone would take advantage of fellow residents soon after moving there.

"We live in a really safe community out here and we're very trusting of each other," she said.

"It's just sad really."

Ozanne's partner, Ms Brown said, had lived in the area for some years and she felt sorry for her having to be associated with such a distasteful episode.

Ozanne's mini crime spree began at the start of July, when he got into the first victim's unlocked BMW, which was parked on their property.

He stole a pair of sunglasses, six face cloths and an unused postage tube, worth a total of $85.

Reginald Ozanne gave his girlfriend stolen items for her birthday.PHOTO: ODT FILES
Reginald Ozanne gave his girlfriend stolen items for her birthday.PHOTO: ODT FILES
The defendant targeted another vehicle just days later, pilfering a set of jumper leads.

The garden-centre burglary in the early hours of July 10 was Ozanne's final crime before his arrest.

He scaled a fence topped with barbed wire and spent nearly half an hour filling a basket with a variety of outdoor garden art and ceramic figures.

Three of the stolen items were found outside the perimeter of the business and the rest were picked up later by police at the defendant's home.

Ozanne told police he remembered taking the dog for a walk that night but "had a blackout" and could not recall committing the burglary.

Judge Smith rubbished that explanation.

And she refused to accept the crimes were "opportunistic" as defence counsel Sophia Thorburn suggested.

Ms Brown said once she posted the CCTV still on Facebook nearly a dozen people came forward identifying Ozanne as the offender after the post was widely shared.

"It actually blew me away," she said of the community response.

Judge Smith noted the defendant had a history of dishonesty offending.

Ozanne was sentenced to 180 hours' community work and ordered to pay $79 reparation.

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