THE leader of a Warrnambool gang of home invaders is now regarded as a prisoner of immigration interest and expected to be deported.
Haimana Adam Tuhakaraina, 18, of Banyan Street, and previously New Zealand, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to 42 charges committed in April and May highlighted by eight aggravated burglaries and the theft of four cars.
The common theme in victim impact statements was that residents were left deeply traumatised and emotional wrecks after young men raided their homes while they slept.
Tuhakaraina was convicted, jailed for seven months, fined $400, banned from driving for 12 months and placed on an 18-month community corrections order with conditions he do 150 hours of community work.
But during sentencing this week a letter was presented to the court stating that Tuhakaraina was a prisoner of interest.
Due to the seriousness of the charges he is expected to be deported.
Magistrate Cynthia Toose said the home invasions had been an epidemic of offending.
She said Tuhakaraina had spent just short of seven months in custody and he was a young offender capable of rehabilitation.
The magistrate said the impact on the victims, including young children, was potential life-long and residents’ sense of security had been shattered.
Ms Toose said many stolen computers were not recovered and irreplaceable images had been lost.
She said the offending was callous and Tuhakaraina had little or no regard for the victims.
The magistrate said one particularly aggravating crime was breaking into a family home while they were away interstate visiting a dying relative and Tuhakaraina knew that family’s situation.
“Irrespective of what happens with immigration if this is not a significant wake up call you are never going to be alert,” she said.
The offending involved homes in Lockett Drive, Wangoom Road, Merri Street, Lindsay Street, Whites Road, Eddington Street, Sharp Avenue and Giffen Street.
Vehicles stolen included a $45,000 BMW as well as a Ford Falcon, Holden Captiva, Suzuki, Nissan wagon and Mitsubishi Lancer.
The Lancer was handed over to associates in Melbourne and used in a series of home invasions and another car was eventually retrieved from the Hopkins River.