House burgled while woman showers


A young West Coast man who burgled a house while one of the two female occupants was in bed asleep and the other was in the shower, was sentenced in the Greymouth District Court yesterday to 15 months jail.
Michael Ryan Newcombe, 20, was already on bail awaiting sentence on two separate drink-driving charges when he committed the burglary of an Alexander Street house at 11am on August 10.
Police prosecutor Steven Greer said Newcombe had tried the front door and, finding it unlatched, entered and went from room to room looking for valuable items.
In one bedroom he found a laptop computer valued at $600, wrapping it in a towel before heading to a car parked nearby. He then threw the towel out the window and drove away.
Reparation was not sought because Newcombe’s mother handed the computer in to police several days later.
However, the victims were horrified that someone unknown to them could simply walk into their house.
The owner of the computer had all her assignments on it and would not have been able to complete a course had it not been returned.
Lawyer Richard Bodle said it was an opportunistic theft. Newcombe was broke and needed something to sell to help pay the rent.
Newcombe was an “affable young man” who was taking a long time to learn from his mistakes.
He was racked by regret as soon as he got the computer home but did not know what to do with it.
Judge David Saunders said Newcombe had painted himself into a corner. He was already in danger of going to jail for the drink-driving offences — his third and fourth — but had put that beyond doubt by the burglary.
“Now that you are 20 you are an adult and you will be treated like an adult,” the judge said.
Newcombe was also disqualified from driving indefinitely.