Crimeline - thefts, drugs and the bizarre

3 minutes read
Posted 20 June, 2024
Policeman v15

Police have been busy this week intercepting hungry, young light-fingered, overseas backpackers and credit card fraudsters, also freeing a teenager who couldn’t break out after she broke in.

Backpacking on the cheap

A young French-Canadian couple – 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man, were intercepted by Queenstown Airport Police attempting to leave the country on Friday, 14 June, and charged with 30 counts of shoplifting from a local supermarket. Police say that between them they were allegedly responsible for shoplifting on 30 different occasions. Community and Youth Constable Amanda Shute says the male was also charged with using a credit card for pecuniary advantage after using a stolen credit card seven times in total. The pair had been issued with a trespass notice from a local supermarket on the evening of Thursday, 13 June, after “multiple occurrences”, allegedly stealing food and grocery items, she says. They were released on bail with the condition that they surrender their passports to Police, and both are due to appear in the Queenstown District Court on 15 July.

Police also located a 23-year-old French national in Frankton on Thursday after he was allegedly responsible for shoplifting from two Wānaka supermarkets on 20 separate occasions. Police on foot patrol recognised the man from CCTV footage shared by supermarket staff. He was charged and appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, 17 June, where he pleaded guilty and was fined and ordered to pay reparation and restitution.

Bank card bar thefts

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Saudi national was offloaded from his flight home by Police at Auckland International Airport on Sunday, 16 June, after being charged with allegedly using a bank card for pecuniary advantage and three charges of theft from patrons at Queenstown’s London Bar. Shute says he allegedly stole items, such as coats and purses, from the bar. The man is due to appear in the Queenstown District Court on 24 June.

What are ‘ute’ doing?!

In a bizarre call-out at 4.50am on Saturday, 15 June, Police were called to a residential street in Queenstown Central after a member of the public reported hearing “screaming and banging”. Police arrived to find a 19-year-old Invercargill female who had allegedly entered the canopy of a utility vehicle and been unable to get out. Shute says she then allegedly used a hammer to smash a window to enter the main part of the vehicle and then smashed the passenger window to get out of the vehicle. “She appears to have gotten into the vehicle and couldn’t find a way out,” Shute says. Her motive was unclear. The young woman, who didn’t know the owners of the vehicle, has been charged with unlawfully getting into a vehicle and will appear in the Queenstown District Court on 27 June.

Drink driving

A 46-year-old Clutha woman was suspended from driving for 28 days and pleaded guilty in the Invercargill District Court after Police received a driving complaint about a vehicle travelling slowly along Shotover Street at 10:14pm on Wednesday, 12 June. She blew 788mcgs in a breath test was convicted and fined $790 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Police target recreational drug use

Police continue to target recreational drug use now that the ski season has arrived and with anticipated sell-out crowds flocking to the Events Centre for this year’s Mardi Gras on Saturday, 29 June, it’s partygoers beware. Otago Lakes Organised Crime lead Detective Sergeant Regan Boucher said recently there’s been a significant rise in the use and sale of cocaine in the region, with ongoing dealing and use of synthetic party drugs like MDMA and ketamine. He warned there’s an increasing risk that users may not be buying what they think and urged them not to take risks and to avoid all recreational drugs. People need to drink responsibly, and never leave drinks unattended, or accept drinks they haven't personally seen poured, especially from strangers or someone they’ve just met.


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