A contractor who plundered more than $23,000 worth of goods from earthquake-damaged Christchurch and sent them up to Tauranga for "monster garage sales" has been jailed for two years.
Victor Tupotahi Jackson, a 38-year-old father of two, was sentenced in Christchurch District Court on Wednesday, after admitting four charges of theft from the red zone between October last year and January.
He had gone to Christchurch to help with the February 22 quake recovery work and was working as a plasterer in the red zone, the Christchurch Court News website reported.
Jackson twice packed up clothes, cosmetics and shoes and sent it to homes in Tauranga before advertising monster garage sales where they were sold.
Police say $17,468 worth of goods was recovered but $6000 is outstanding.
Judge Philip Moran said the community expected people who plundered property in the red zone to be dealt with severely.
In jailing him for two years and ordering him to pay $6000 in reparation, Judge Moran said Jackson's rehabilitation took second place to deterrence.
"You came to Christchurch to help. Its a pity you betrayed your own ideals."
Jackson's lawyer David Bunce said that in the "slightly surreal and empty environment, devoid of people but surrounded by abandoned and available property of all kinds", standards became lax.
Jackson and some other contractors got into the habit of helping themselves to the consumer goods, he said.
Jackson's jailing came at the same time police said they had investigated an officer for allegedly stealing three pairs of sunglasses from a cordoned-off building.
The constable was suspended last year once evidence of his involvement emerged but had since left the force.
Police said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the officer.
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