Targeting Law Courts Hotel repeated pattern

The new black Art Deco frontage of the Law Courts Hotel in Dunedin has upset reader Ivan...
Law Courts Hotel in Dunedin. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
When Joshua Karl Smith slunk into the Law Courts Hotel three days before Christmas last year, he knew what he was doing.

He had been there before, and was well familiar with the layout.

But the previous time he hit the Dunedin establishment he had used a different technique.

In June 2015, Smith set off the building's fire alarm, causing the hotel to be evacuated.

With the premises empty, he simply strolled into the main bar and swiped nearly $2000 from the till.

Smith said he needed the money for rent and food.

Judge Kevin Phillips called it a "planned and premeditated operation" and noted the man used to live in the building.

Smith was convicted of burglary and several unrelated charges - including unlawfully taking his mother's car - and jailed for 14 months.

He was ordered to repay the $1900 he stole.

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