Crime Spree Ends: Burglar Edwards Sentenced to Over Two Years in Jail


In full cognizance of an impending arrest related to multiple burglaries, Atua Edwards promptly absconded from his current location and made a daring dash into unfolding traffic, where a woman was navigating her Hyundai station wagon down Mutu Street in Te Awamutu.

Edwards, closing the distance at an alarming pace, hollered at the woman to vacate her vehicle. Although the terrified woman tried to secure herself by slamming her window shut, Edwards was on her in a heartbeat. He reached inside, latching onto her left shoulder, as he attempted to yank her out from the moving car. The woman evaded his temporary grasp, flooring the accelerator in an effort to escape his hostile takeover.

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However, Edwards held onto the exterior of the speeding vehicle for approximately 20 metres until the woman pulled to a halt, grabbed her handbag and dashed to safety.

This shocking incident, occurring on February 17, marked the pinnacle of a series of burglaries and auto thefts Edwards had been orchestrating for several months prior.

On the early morning of December 16, of the previous year, he trespassed into the Backyard Bar in Whatawhata, only to injure himself on shattered glass while attempting to infiltrate from a broken window. Following unsuccessful attempts to crack open the ATM, a gaming safe, and a fridge, he departed with nothing more than a floor rug.

Then on December 30, he audaciously stormed into Hauturu Primary School near Kawhia in his own vehicle and plucked a security camera from its perch two metres above the ground, only not before its lens snapped his face.

On January 16, between 1 pm and 3 pm, Edwards set his sights on a residence in Pukeatua. He loaded the homeowner’s vehicle with an assortment of pilfered goods from electronics to a lawn mower and a children’s electronic ride-on toy car. He then careened away unperturbed.

Furthermore, Edwards brazenly used a looted Eftpos card at a McDonald’s in Te Awamutu on two occasions, tallying expenditures over $75.

His crime spree continued with a heist of a Ford Ranger from Drive Auto Sales in Tauranga on January 31. He then drove it to a property in Whatawhata, twice invaded it within a half-hour span, stealing a slew of items ranging from a compressor, tools, to binoculars, and fleeing the scene.

Edwards was recently arraigned at the Hamilton District Court, facing multiple charges of burglary and auto theft. Defence counsel Wayne Dollimore attributed Edwards’ illicit activities to the resurgence of his meth addiction, stating it was the primary motivator, not justification, for his deeds.

Despite allegations that Edwards was devoid of remorse, Dollimore countered, asserting Edwards is keen to make amends and embody regret. Indeed, Edwards was fully aware of his extensive criminal past and expressed determination to clean up his act, sever ties with drug addiction and nefarious gang associations.

Relatives of Edwards, including his mother, pledged their unwavering support during his court proceedings, emphasizing his need to prioritize his progeny and responsibility as a grandfather, and focus on self-improvement.

Likewise, his mother candidly expressed in a letter that while she loved him, she did not condone his wrongdoings and exhorted him to reassess his life choices. In agreement, Judge Crowley declared, “I don’t think you will get better advice than that.”

In conclusion, Edwards was sentenced to a two-year and four months jail term. However, any reparation orders were ruled out, as the judge deemed it important for Edwards not to carry the weight of financial recompense upon his eventual release.