Men face multiple charges after ‘devastating’ thefts

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Two Oamaru men are facing multiple charges following a series of "devastating" thefts in the town before Easter.

One of the men is also facing burglary and fraud charges.

The pair appeared in the Timaru District Court last Thursday, where police opposed bail.

Police arrested the men last Wednesday after thefts from tourist vehicles.

A 36-year-old Oamaru man was charged with eight counts of theft and a 19-year-old Oamaru man is facing five charges — three of theft from a vehicle, one count of burglary from a North Oamaru fish and chip shop on March 19 and a fraud charge for allegedly using a stolen credit card.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge said police had been taking victim impact statements and the impact of the thefts had been "devastating".

"They’ve been travelling the world for weeks, sometimes months, and they’ve got photos — they’re all gone," Sgt Woodbridge said.

"The sour taste that, well, Oamaru has left in their mouth, that will reverberate for a long time, so it’s quite sad.

"One of them ... she talked about the privacy of her vehicle that she has travelled in all around NZ, that had been eroded away and broken, by this person who broke into the car," Sgt Woodbridge said.

"It’s not just a car being broken into, it’s all their worldly possessions that are in there and the privacy of that wee spot."

The 19-year-old man was released on bail to an address in Oamaru, but upon release, he failed to abide by curfew three nights in a row so was arrested again on Monday, Sgt Woodbridge said.

He was set to appear in the Timaru District Court yesterday, he said. Police have again opposed bail. It was unable to be confirmed whether he was granted bail.

The 36-year-old man is still in custody and has pleaded guilty to all eight charges of theft.

Police are still working with the victims of the thefts — many international travellers — to ascertain the value of the stolen property.