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Prison term for busy burglar

A young man with a “woeful history” has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay $1800 in reparations at Masterton District Court this week after pleading guilty to five charges, including burglary and theft.

Jakob Harmon [24] appeared before Judge Michael Mika for sentencing on charges of burglary, unlawfully entering a yard, unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, taking and using a bank card, and theft of a bicycle, which were incurred in two separate incidents in September and November last year.

In the first incident on September 26, Harmon, who was on bail at the time, attempted to burgle a Masterton home with an associate but left when the owner and their dog confronted them.

After walking a short distance, Harmon and his associate entered another residential property where he stole a Bluetooth speaker from one car and put it in a second car on the property.

He then took a key from the property’s laundry room and got into the second car, his associate behind the wheel.

CCTV footage showed Harmon using the victim’s bank card, which he’d taken from her handbag inside the car, at about 4am at the local Z petrol station. On that occasion he spent $40 and later another $6 at a different location.

In November, Harmon stole a bike from a Carterton property before dumping it in the front garden of another house.

The victims of the Masterton burglary – a young mother and her daughter – had been inside the home during the offence.

According to the victim’s impact statement, she is “constantly worried you’ll come back”, Judge Mika said.

“You entered the laundry, not the main home, but nonetheless, this is the victim’s home, and she should feel safe and secure in her own home.”

Police prosecutor Sargeant Scott Thomas said while the Masterton offence “lacked planning and sophistication”, it had had “quite a severe impact on the victim”.

Defence counsel Mike Kilbride argued for a “focus on rehabilitation” in the sentencing.

Harmon’s time in custody had given him the opportunity to “sit back and reassess his engagement with the world, and try and distance himself from certain people”, Kilbride said.

“With structure and support, he has a fighting chance.”

Addressing Harmon in the dock, Judge Mika acknowledged, “The last few years haven’t been good for you or your whānau.”

The judge applied post-detention conditions to the 12-month prison term, including a requirement to attend an alcohol and drug programme “and any other programme recommended by your probation officer”.

“These conditions recognise what you told Mr Kilbride and what you told me – that you want help.”

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