Man's South Island crime spree

Last updated 05:00 24/06/2014

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A 22-year-old Cromwell man who took a loader on a joyride through a fence was found with two sawn-off guns and is linked to a burglary in Christchurch, police say.

Sergeant Simon Paget said the man, who would appear in the Alexandra District Court next Thursday, was facing further charges after being caught allegedly committing a crime spree around Cromwell.

The spate of offending started on Sunday, June 8, with the theft of a $1500 mountain bike from an Orchard Pl address. That night the Cromwell Argus building in Old Cromwell Town was burgled and a donation box removed.

Two nights later the Cromwell Bowling Club was broken into and alcohol was taken. Later a Wishart Cres address was burgled and another mountain bike stolen. The offender then allegedly used this bike to travel to the Dunstan Industrial Park area where a transport operator's yard was entered and a loader was unlawfully taken.

The loader was used to drive through the perimeter fence of a neighbouring business and caused considerable damage to the yard. An estimated $20,000 worth of damage was done to the loader, Paget said.

After getting the loader stuck, the offender appeared to abandon it and climbed a fence to another commercial premises, where he has allegedly unlawfully interfered with two trucks. Soon after this, a Subaru Legacy was stolen from the transport operator's yard.

Police caught the man several hours later in the Cromwell Gorge and, after initially resisting arrest, he was taken into custody.

Paget said the man had also been charged with a burglary at a Christchurch industrial premises in March where a safe was forced open and $2500 stolen.

"In the course of our inquiries into these incidents police located a sawn-off 12 gauge pump action shotgun and a sawn-off .22 rifle. Both of these firearms are thought to have been stolen during an unlawful taking of a vehicle in Blyth St in February 2013. Police are very pleased to have recovered these firearms and to have removed them from criminal hands."

The alleged offender was responsible for the modification of the guns which police found hidden on a property in Cromwell.

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- The Southland Times

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