Crime spree ends in 13 months' jail

A man who distracted staff while his partner and her children left a shop with almost $1700 of stolen goods has been jailed for more than a year.

Jamie Stuart Kelly (41) appeared before the Dunedin District Court yesterday on eight charges racked up in the space of a month and a-half.

After a failed attempt to leave a supermarket with a trolley full of groceries, the defendant and his then partner Kirsty-Lee Tobin went to The Warehouse in Maclaggan St on June 30.

Kelly loaded the trolley with a 49-inch television, a duvet set and a toaster.

After a nerf gun was later added, Tobin's two children grabbed a basketball each.

As they left the store, Kelly spoke to a staff member to divert their attention.

Tobin's decision to involve her children in the crime was lambasted by Judge Michael Crosbie, who sentenced her last month to three months' community detention and nine months' supervision.

Yesterday, prosecutor Sergeant Chris George told the court Kelly was a more experienced offender and it should be considered an aggravating factor that he involved someone less seasoned in the criminal enterprise.

Kelly's crime spree began in Christchurch, where he stole $300 of garments and electrical items from another Warehouse, jumping over the fences of neighbouring properties to avoid capture.

On arrest later, he was found with a 9cm camouflaged steel knife and the prescription drug Ritalin, which belonged to his partner's daughter.

Kelly told police: ``I have been a drug addict for 25 years and things aren't going to change. I stole the clothing to keep warm while hitch-hiking and the electrical goods to fund my drug addiction.''

The net closed in when Kelly went to various liquor stores but was refused service because of his intoxication.

As he tried to leave a Countdown car park, however, a constable on foot extended his arm to signal the driver to stop.

It did not deter Kelly. He accelerated towards an exit, where another officer waited. He too tried to stop Kelly, but the defendant mounted a kerb and drove off.

Defence counsel Debbie Ericsson said Kelly had ``underlying issues'' he had not dealt with.

That had resulted in him becoming an intravenous drug user at the age of 15, she said.

Ms Ericcson told the court he was finally motivated to change his lifestyle and had employment arranged in Christchurch on his release.

``He has realised his offending has an effect on others, not just himself and the victims but also his family,'' she said.

``He is ashamed at what he's done in relation to his parents and missing out on large portions of his children's lives.''

Judge Brian Callaghan said he hoped the desire to change was sincere. He jailed Kelly for 13 months and ordered him to pay $1246 reparation.


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