Judgement passed on church burglar three years in jail
A prolific offender with convictions stemming back three decades was yesterday sentenced in Magistrates' Court to three years behind bars.
Brian Carlton Rogers, 49, admitted to trespassing and stealing a safe containing papers valued at $250 from the West Pembroke Pentecostal Church on October 11.
The maximum sentence for the offence is five years' imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine, according to prosecutor Robert Welling.
Rogers, of North Terrace, Pembroke, admitted he had latex gloves and a multi-tool knife in his home to use in connection with the burglary. He also admitted to obstructing a Police officer in the course of duty on the same day.
The court earlier heard the pastor secured the Pembroke church before leaving at 8.30pm on October 10.
Early the next morning, a church member who lives nearby was awakened by a loud banging noise coming from the building.
The neighbour saw a light on inside the church and a black man dressed in black clothes and a baseball cap walking away from the property.
A few minutes later the woman heard banging again and called the Police.
Officers saw Rogers walking with a grey box and black rucksack along St. John's Road in Pembroke.
The officers gave chase.
When caught, Rogers told them: “I'm going to do you in.”
He then reached into his pocket where he had the knife.
Officers then went into Rogers' home where they found the latex gloves, a padlock and other items.
Rogers denied the rucksack was his but later confessed to the burglary at the Hamilton Police Station.
Yesterday Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner sentenced Rogers to three years behind bars for trespassing.
He also ordered him to spend six months in jail for possessing the gloves and knife and three months for obstructing an officer. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
Prior to sentencing, Mr Warner said: “I must consider your previous convictions. You have got a prolific record of criminal convictions of all types [and] all sorts going back to the last one on January 14 of this year when you were given 12 months in prison followed by 12 months' probation.
“You were released in September and this offence occurred in October.”
Mr Warner said Rogers stated in mitigation that he never had the opportunity to get any treatment for his drug dependancy.
But the Magistrate said: “Looking at your record I do not agree. You have decided to embark on a life-long criminal career which is evidenced by your criminal history. You are not eligible for drug treatment court.
“In my view you are entitled to some rehabilitive treatment, which may include drug programmes, but you are not entitled to drug treatment court.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Rogers must also undergo two years' probation including any drug or probative programmes prescribed by the Department of Court Services.