3 Sep 2019

Homeless man succeeds in returning to prison after crime spree

4:44 pm on 3 September 2019

A homeless man who committed a crime spree in the hopes of being returned to prison has been sentenced to 21 months in jail.

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Photo: 123RF

Kaama Tetakoree Waenga appeared in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon for sentencing on two charges of burglary in relation to his early morning offending on 1 June.

He pleaded guilty to the charges in June. It was not the first time he had reoffended to be sent back to prison, having done the same in Rotorua in October last year.

Waenga lashed out at Judge Michael Crosbie as he was sentenced this afternoon and attempted to walk out on the process.

As the judge asked him to return to the dock, saying "I haven't finished yet", Waenga responded: "I have".

"Get it over with," he said. "I don't give a f***."

He pulled the fingers at the judge as he was led away by security staff.

The summary of facts of the 30-year-old's latest offending said he was released from Otago Corrections Facility on 31 May.

About 5am the following day he was on Gordon Road, the main street of the Dunedin suburb of Mosgiel.

"The defendant found a workman's pickaxe, picked it up and went to the Knox's Milk Bar," a police summary of facts said.

"The defendant swung the pickaxe at the window of the shop, smashing it, and gained entry.

"Upon entry, the defendant went to the till and attempted to open it but was unsuccessful, he then forced open the cigarette display and took a packet of 25 Choice cigarettes.

"The defendant picked up the pickaxe and went directly to the ANZ bank, a short distance away. The defendant threw the pickaxe at the front window of the bank, smashing it."

Waenga searched drawers looking for money, but was unsuccessful.

He took a phone from the bank and then rang the police to alert them to his actions, the summary said.

"When spoken to by police the defendant admitted the facts ... and stated in explanation for his actions that he had recently been released from prison, did not have any money or a place to sleep and committed the offences with the intention of being arrested and remanded to jail."

Corrections said at the time of the offending that staff made numerous attempts to work with Waenga to plan for his release from prison and where he would live. But he refused to engage with staff.

"Prior to being remanded into custody at Otago Corrections Facility in February of this year, this offender had been residing in supported accommodation while subject to a community sentence of intensive supervision," Corrections said.

"Intensive supervision is a community-based rehabilitation sentence imposed by the Court.

"The offender absconded from the supported accommodation in February and was charged with breaching the conditions of his intensive supervision sentence. On Friday, 31 May, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, but released from prison due to the time he had spent in custody on remand. He was returned to custody on Saturday morning (1 June) after being charged with new offending."

Last year Waenga hatched a similar plan.

Rotorua District Court heard Waenga smashed up a motel room soon after being released from jail so he could be returned to prison, Stuff reported in October.