Stole scope after release from jail

The man who stole from a Dunedin hunting store this week told the court it was the first time he had committed such a crime in some years.

"That’s because you’ve been in prison," Judge Emma Smith said.

Brandon Antony Macgregor (24) was released from the Otago Corrections Facility after serving nearly four years for the armed robbery of an Invercargill dairy.

On that occasion he and a friend carried knives and got away with $1000, it was reported.

But Macgregor was undone when the shopkeeper spotted a tattoo on his neck and police arrested him the same day.

"You’re just doing it again, taking people’s property. Nothing’s changed for you," the judge told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

"You cannot offend so blatantly, so quickly after coming out of prison. What on earth were you thinking?"

"I wasn’t," Macgregor replied.

Choosing to represent himself, he pleaded guilty to the theft of an archery scope from Hunting and Fishing which took place on Monday.

He and a friend browsed the Crawford St shop, taking an interest in the archery section.

Macgregor took the $249 scope and stashed it under his jersey.

As the pair walked out, the security alarm sounded and staff pursued as the men ran off.

Macgregor and his mate disappeared into bushes near the Oval and police tracked them down half an hour later.

The stolen item was undamaged and returned to the store, the court heard.

Macgregor told officers he had not gone to Hunting and Fishing with the express intention of committing the crime but had spied the scope and made a snap decision.

Judge Smith said the defendant had an "appalling" history of similar offending."I know that," Macgregor said.

He stressed since he had been freed from prison, he had met conditions set by the Parole Board by attending drug and alcohol counselling and he was preparing to enrol in an anger-management course.

Looking over his previous sentences, the judge said rehabilitative efforts had been made with the defendant in the past, without success.

"With respect, it doesn’t seem to me even imprisonment has made a great deal of difference to your thinking," she said.

Macgregor asked for more community work to be added to the 30 hours he was currently completing.

After some deliberation, Judge Smith agreed.

"I’m not sure any retailer in Dunedin is going to thank me," she added.

Macgregor was sentenced 50 hours’ community work and ordered to pay court costs of $130.