Burglar left funeral to commit crimes

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A Queenstown career criminal with more than 200 previous convictions left a friend’s funeral to attempt a burglary.
 
Derek John Taylor, 41, was caught on CCTV as he entered the yard of a property on Esk Street, Invercargill, in September.
 
Queenstown District Court heard that afternoon, Thursday, September 29, he had been attending the funeral of a friend at a church nearby.
 
The father-of-three left the funeral, drove across the road and parked his car on the driveway of a counselling services centre.
 
He tried to get into storage sheds at the rear of the property for about 15 minutes but failed and left empty handed.
 
Taylor, of Maxwell Place, also admitted conning Queenstown Bible Chapel out of $100 worth of fuel vouchers, a burglary at Queenstown Events Centre and stealing copper pipes and valves worth $400.
 
He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for the offences when he appeared in court on Monday.
 
Judge Michael Turner, sentencing, says: “You have convictions spanning some 24 years since you were 17 years old.
 
“By my calculations you have 21 convictions for burglary between 1998 and 2011.
 
“You have spent considerable periods of your life in prison and are institutionalised or at risk of being institutionalised.”
 
Judge Turner said there was a high risk of re-offending due to his recidivist nature. An aggravating factor was the offences were committed while on parole.
 
“By my assessment a term of imprisonment is inevitable for this offending,” Judge Turner says.
 
Katy Barker, representing Taylor, told the court her client had moved to Queenstown seeking a fresh start after his latest spell behind bars.
 
But he felt “hounded” and victimised by Queenstown Police who repeatedly questioned him about crimes carried out in the area and also searched his home.
 
One police search had revealed the copper pipes, which Taylor claimed he had found on a rubbish dump.
 
Taylor admitted four charges. For the lead charge of burglary he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years. On December 30, he took a wallet and a purse from lockers at the gym at the events centre, worth $320.
 
For the other three charges – theft, obtaining property by deception and unlawfully being in an enclosed yard – he was sentenced to two months on each, to run concurrently.
 
The obtaining property by deception charge relates to the $100 of fuel vouchers from the Queenstown Bible Chapel. Taylor had told a chapel member he was a builder, cash machine had eaten his card and he needed money for fuel to drive to Christchurch.
 
The chapel member bought the fuel vouchers and Taylor promised to pay him back the next day, but never did.