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Thefts driven by addiction, court told

A woman’s multiple thefts, including trying to steal a World War 2 medal, were mainly due to meth addiction, said Judge Warren Cathcart in Gisborne District Court.

Yvette Joyce Rigby, 40, was appearing for sentence on 12 charges — one of theft, two of burglary, three of obtaining and using a document for pecuniary advantage, one of intimidation and threat, one breach of release conditions, one of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, one of escape from police custody, one of failure to remain stopped for an enforcement officer and one of failing to stop when followed by a police vehicle displaying red and blue flashing lights.

Counsel Michael Lynch said Rigby had spent 316 days in custody to date, equivalent to 20-21 months imprisonment.

Rigby had been accepted for residential rehabilitation at Te Whare Oranga Ngakau, where she would go after sentencing.

A person from the alcohol and drug programme would take Rigby from Rotorua Prison to the facility.

Mr Lynch sought a sentence of time served for his client.

Judge Cathcart said the fines and enforcement costs for Rigby were quite significant, totalling $9272.

An agreed summary of facts said that on February 7, 2021, Rigby and an associate were seen by a neighbour arriving at a house.

Rigby went to the carport and reached through an open window.

She took a World War 2 medal, clocks, bank books and ornaments which were within reach inside the window.

The owner saw Rigby, who ran and got into a vehicle. Her pursuer managed to grab the bag full of goods and Rigby fled the scene.

On March 7, Rigby and an associate drove to another house. The occupant was in the backyard doing laundry.

Rigby entered the house, picked up a wallet and some other things.

The owner walked into the house and was disturbed to find her. Rigby told him, “I am looking for money, I need it for food.”

After Rigby fled the scene, the man realised his wallet and all his cards were missing.

Rigby and the associate went to a petrol station, and Rigby gave the associate the cards.

The associate used one of the cards to buy cigarettes. At that stage the cards had not been cancelled, and $71.80 was charged to that card.

Rigby and the associate went to another place to buy several packs of cigarettes. This time the transaction was declined.

Later in the night, the two went to another gas station and tried to use another stolen bank card, which was declined.

The cards were passed on to another man, who tried to use one of them, and the transaction was declined.

On November 10, a warrant to arrest was issued.

In January, Rigby was seen in a vehicle. Officers told her she was under arrest.

Rigby tried to start the car. The owner took the keys out, but Rigby started it without the keys, which damaged the vehicle.

Police followed her in their vehicle with its red and blue lights flashing.

Rigby refused to give an explanation to the officers.

Judge Cathcart set a start point of 30 months imprisonment and uplifted it by two months for offences committed while on bail, actively avoiding police and her extensive history of similar convictions.

She was given a seven-and-a-half month discount for a guilty plea and four-and-a-half months discount for personal circumstances — a tragic upbringing.

A further discount of three months for a severe substance use disorder was given to Rigby because “meth addiction was the main factor in offending”, the judge said.

The judge remitted her fines, given that she had spent 20-21 months equivalent time in custody.

The end sentence for Rigby was time served.

Her release conditions include attending alcohol and drug counselling at Te Whare Oranga Ngakau Facility.

She was sentenced to 30 days concurrent imprisonment for Crown charges and failing to stop for a vehicle displaying red and blue flashing lights, and disqualified from driving for two years.