A drug-addicted burglar apparently drugged a guard dog before stealing jewellery, and other items from his former flatmate’s home.
Cameron Ian Pentecost, 26, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court to four and a half months of community detention and 12 months of supervision on Monday, when he appeared on two charges of burglary and four of theft – in the form of drive-offs from petrol stations.
As he was being sentenced Pentecost denied drugging the dog, telling Judge Merelina Burnett that “I would never hurt an animal”.
Although it was unable to be substantiated in court, the dog-doping allegation was revealed in a victim impact statement written to the court by one of Pentecost’s two victims – his former flatmate, who said she was dismayed by his betrayal.
“A once-close friend has become a villain in my life,” the woman wrote.
The pair had known each other since their primary school days and she had offered him the chance to become her flatmate after hearing he had fallen on hard times.
What she didn’t initially know was that he had also fallen in with a bad crowd who had begun to manipulate him into doing bad deeds, and had developed a drug habit which he needed to service.
It was on January 5 this year, after Pentecost had moved out, that he decided to burgle the woman’s home in Garland Drive, Hamilton.
She was on holiday at the time, and a housesitter was looking after the house.
The housesitter had a dog, and was out when Pentecost committed the burglary. The dog was unusually extremely lethargic when the housesitter returned, and his food bowl was in an unusual position outside the front of the house.
It didn’t take the housesitter long to realise the house had been burgled. A television, laptop computer and clothing had been taken.
Worse still, so had the woman’s jewellery – conservatively valued at about $10,000 – which she had inherited from her mother and grandmother.
Sometime later, police conducted a search of the house where Pentecost was now living. They found sheets and pillowslips belonging to his former flatmate there. The rest of the items he had taken, however, had been on-sold.
The burglary had a devastating effect on his victim. She had to have a friend stay in the house with her for three months because she did not feel safe there. She had become hyper-vigilant and her trust in other people had been “shattered”.
The victim of Pentecost’s other burglary, committed four days later in Bethlehem, Tauranga, was his former partner. Although details about that offence were not available in court, he snuck into her house late at night and took items, including two expensive vinyl records.
Pentecost’s counsel Len Caley submitted a letter of apology to the court, in which his client explained he had become hooked on drugs and had been compelled by others he was involved with to commit the burglaries.
He was now drug-free and had resolved to remain so.
His deeds against those who had loved and trusted him had already come at a huge cost, Caley said.
“He has perhaps broken a bridge that can never be rebuilt.”
In sentencing Pentecost, Judge Burnett ordered him to pay $650 in reparation to his victims – the insurance excess at both of the homes.
It was a minuscule amount compared with the damage he had done, she said.
He will also have to pay reparation on his petrol drive-offs, committed at service stations in Morrinsville and Thames last year.