Rugby club burglar found half-naked under clothes pile

A man who burgled Napier rugby clubrooms and then fled after activating an alarm was later found hiding half-naked under a pile of clothes.

Taradale man Lyn Nii Parata Puna (33) appeared by audio visual link in the Napier District Court yesterday charged with burglary and receiving stolen property.

At about 11.30pm on July 21 he went to the Taradale Rugby Clubrooms where he climbed on to the roof and used a tool to cut into the tin roof and gain entry to the building.

He entered the roof space and then crawled about 30m into the area behind the bar where he kicked through the ceiling and turned off the power to the chillers and freezers.

While attempting to jimmy the bar door open Puna activated the alarm and then decamped through the ranch slider and ran across the park towards Ascot Ave.

A police dog unit was deployed and tracked his scent from the scene to the back door of his Taradale home.

Puna was located semi-naked inside the house, hiding under a large pile of clothing in the laundry room.

A stolen van was also found in a garage at the back of the property.

When questioned by police he denied any involvement and claimed he was home all night.

Yesterday defence lawyer Philip Jensen acted on behalf of Leo Lafferty and accepted a sentence indication of 15 months' imprisonment, previously given by Judge Tony Adeane.

Guilty pleas were entered before Judge Bridget Mackintosh and while Puna had intended to apply for electronically monitored bail, Mr Jensen said the guilty pleas had "superseded" this.

Taradale Rugby Club chairman Tim Combs said nothing had been stolen from the club but it was disappointing it had been burgled in the first place.

"From our perspective we're a community club that, at the end of the day, relies on a lot of volunteers to get us by. It's always disappointing to see someone come in and try to take advantage of a break in or something like that.

"At the end of the day we're simply about, amongst other things, trying to provide a really strong community club."

Mr Combs said if there was one good thing to come out of the incident it was that club break-ins were incredibly rare.

"I've been chairman for the last seven years and it's the first time I'm aware of it [a break in]. In that sense I suppose we've been lucky and fortunate we haven't been targeted".

The maximum penalties for burglary and receiving stolen property are 10 years' imprisonment and 7 years' imprisonment respectively.

Reparation for the cost of the damage to the clubrooms was sought and Puna was remanded in custody to appear again for sentencing in person on October 3.

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