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At the start of what would become a six-month spree of thefts, Joshua Thomas Smith (29), of Mosgiel, came across the man’s Ford Falcon parked on the side of Quarry Rd, Mosgiel, on February 17 this year.
The keys were still inside and Smith decided to steal it.
While driving it, he stopped beside a Delta Utility Services truck and took a leaf blower and a 10-litre petrol container that were in the rear.
The next day the Ford was found, but without its radio.
More thefts followed over the next few months.
Judge Peter Rollo convicted Smith this week in the Dunedin District Court of three charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, four charges of theft and one of shoplifting.
He was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, with the option of home detention.
Disqualified from driving for nine months, Smith was also ordered to pay reparations of more than $12,000 to five different people.
Counsel Alan de Jager stressed drug and alcohol addiction was the driving force of the offending, and these crimes were "purely opportunistic".
The court heard that alcohol and drug addiction had begun early into Smith’s life, taking off in his mid-teens.
Coupled with some personal mental health problems, Smith was described as being genetically predisposed to these conditions.
Judge Rollo commented on the ‘‘breach of trust and common decency", given at least one of Smith’s victims was a friend.
‘‘I have been doing this job for a long time,’’ Judge Rollo said.
‘‘And regrettably, in all of my years as a judge I have seen a lot of people come before me with issues of drugs and alcohol.
‘‘I’m not foolish enough to believe it’s easy to overcome these issues,’’ the judge said.
- ByTina Grumball