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Plea of guilty to smash-and-grab

Auckland teenager Dontae Gray has pleaded guilty to a raft of charges relating to a 10-day crime spree that included a smash-and-grab robbery at Masterton’s Michael Hill jewellery store.

Gray has admitted to 18 charges for offences that he committed in Masterton and Palmerston North at the end of last year.

He appeared for sentencing via audio-visual link in Masterton District Court yesterday, supported by his family.

However, the sentencing decision was deferred after the court failed to produce a report that had been ordered.

Judge Barbara Morris instructed that the report be undertaken without delay.

Among the charges Gray admitted were two counts of aggravated burglary, which carry a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Other charges included unlawful possession of a pistol, possession of methamphetamine, and dangerous driving.

Witnesses to the Michael Hill smash-and-grab on October 6, 2022, said it sounded like a car crash.

Police said the offender smashed several display cabinets at the store and left with an unknown quantity of jewellery in a black Subaru Legacy saloon.

The teenager also faced three charges related to offences committed in Palmerston North on October 12.

One charge related to entering Dulux Trade Centre Palmerston North without authority and with “intent to commit an imprisonable offence”.

Two charges of “being armed with a weapon, namely a paint roller pole” related to entering Pascoes and Goldsack and Co jewellery stores without authority and with intent to commit a crime.

Four charges related to offending in Masterton on October 16 included assaulting a person and demanding their vehicle keys with intent to steal the vehicle.

On October 16, police “sighted a person of interest” – Gray – on Worksop Rd in Masterton.

Police said the vehicle was signalled to stop but it fled and was tracked by police units in the area.

“The vehicle was sighted turning into Mikimiki Rd and was subsequently spiked, and the occupant dumped the vehicle and fled. He was arrested a short time later.”

Gray has been remanded in custody while the pre-sentencing report is prepared.

He is due to reappear again before Judge Barbara Morris on June 21.

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