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Serial thief sent to prison

A professional burglar will remain behind bars for the foreseeable future.

Steven O'Neil, 30, was sentenced at Supreme Court yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to seven counts of burglary and two counts of attempting to steal motorcycles. All of the offences took place in January and February of this year.

During the break-ins, O'Neil stole cash, jewellery, and electronics worth more than $40,000.

The court heard he committed his most recent crime spree while on parole.

O'Neil has a lengthy criminal record spanning 16 years, with 35 convictions for similar offences. He was last released from prison in May last year.

The court also heard that O'Neil had a long history of drug addiction.

Defence lawyer Dantae Williams told the court that O'Neil first started smoking cannabis at the age of 14 — the same age he first appeared in court.

At 17 he experimented with heroin, while at 19 he tried crack cocaine for the first time while at the Prison Farm.

Mr Williams said O'Neil had struggled with addiction ever since and submitted that his behaviour was due to his drug dependency.

“There is a difference between a criminal who steals to steal and one who steals to feed an addiction,” he added.

Mr Williams highlighted that O'Neil had obtained his GED and even found employment in the culinary arts sector before he relapsed and committed his latest offences.

Crown Prosecutor Takiyah Burgess said O'Neil had shown a complete disregard for members of the community and asked for an immediate custodial sentence.

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves sentenced O'Neil to eight years in prison for burglary and five years for attempted theft, to run concurrently.

These sentences will run consecutively with O'Neil's current prison term — he was due for release in 2018.

Addressing O'Neil, Mr Justice Greaves said: “You constitute a real danger to every homeowner in this country.

“It is the duty of this court to protect them from you for as long as possible.”

Judge: Carlisle Greaves

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Published December 18, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm)

Serial thief sent to prison

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