25 Apr 2024

Police dog punched after burglar caught on roof with booze shop loot

5:08 pm on 25 April 2024

By Belinda Feek, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Waikato of NZ Herald

A police dog being held by their handler.

Sidney Cassidy attacked a police dog when he was arrested following a string of burglaries. (File photo) Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

A man's spree of daylight-armed robberies and night-time burglaries came to an abrupt halt after police busted him on the roof of a bottle store with nearly $3000 worth of stolen loot.

But despite being caught in the act, Sidney Burke Cassidy was not prepared to give up too easily and instead fled 250m down the road before being found in an outhouse at the back of a residential property.

After again being told he was under arrest, Cassidy came out swinging as a police dog latched onto his arm.

The 42-year-old punched the dog's face and body, and after a minute-long struggle, was able to be handcuffed.

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Photo: Open Justice

The incident, during the early hours of 3 October, last year, was just one in a spree of armed robberies and burglaries he admitted carrying out, mostly to pay for his drug habit, when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court last week.

It all began on 6 May last year when Cassidy, who was living in emergency accommodation, stole a car. He was granted bail after appearing in court later that month.

His offending continued, and he was continually granted bail.

While he admitted 19 charges, one of the most serious included the daylight robbery of Cash Converters on Hamilton's Peachgrove Road on the afternoon of 13 July.

Armed with a metal hammer and with his face covered, he went in and smashed a glass cabinet and took six watches valued at $860, raising the hammer at the store manager before fleeing on his bike.

Around 3.40am on 6 September, Cassidy climbed onto the roof of the Crossroads Bar, at Five Crossroads, using the drainage pipes and carrying "tin snips".

He then cut a hole in the roof and jumped into an electrical cupboard. He took $500 cash from a till, an unknown amount of cash from gaming machines, and two bottles of booze - worth $400, then walked out the main door.

He was dropped back in the same area at 4pm on 11 September and walked into Dollar Deals armed with a tomahawk and wearing a balaclava and garden gloves. He smashed a glass cabinet and grabbed a tray of jewellery items.

When arrested, he told police he did it to "score some drugs".

A month later, he went into the Hillcrest Haven Bar and Eatery and spoke briefly with a person behind the bar.

He then walked around behind the bar, punched the victim in the shoulder and stomach and yelled, "Give me the money" before snatching one of the tills and fleeing. When caught, he again told police he did it to buy drugs.

Cassidy was back at it just before 1am on 3 October, when he again cut a hole through the roof of a business, this time the Beerescourt Liquor Centre, and stole cash and booze totalling $2730.

But when he climbed back up through the roof, he was surrounded by police.

After running through several properties, he ended up in an outhouse at a Hobson Street property.

He came out swinging, punching the police dog in the head and body and also the arresting officer.

On searching him, police found a meth syringe.

The police dog was taken to the vet for a check-up, while Cassidy said he stole the booze so he could sell it on to people cheaper than what the shop sold it for.

Cassidy pleaded guilty to all charges, including aggravated burglary, burglary, ill-treatment of an animal, committing burglary with a weapon and aggravated robbery, when he appeared before Judge Stephen Clark.

He was convicted and remanded in custody for sentencing in July.

- This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

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