Thieving tourist ordered to pay up when home

A Czech tourist who has been living in a tent in bush at Sunshine Bay has been ordered to pay almost $350 reparation once he gets home and back to work.

Martin Koliba (54) yesterday admitted stealing a credit card, valued at $15, from Leah Wood on December 6 at Queenstown, and using it to obtain property dishonestly on the same day.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin told the Queenstown District Court yesterday Ms Wood, a 24-year-old United States tourist, had been living in Australia and spent four days in Queenstown last year.

On December 6, she was on beach at the Queenstown waterfront when she reached into her bag and dropped a wallet, containing her credit card and driver’s licence.

She left the area soon after and did not realise her wallet was missing.

Koliba found it and at 3.20pm used her credit card to buy two packets of cigarettes from the Night’n Day shop on Camp St for $45.80.

Five minutes later he used the card again at Betty’s Liquor to buy two more packets of cigarettes and a drink, costing $73.79.

At 3.45pm he attempted to use the card to buy a pair of Nike shoes from Frontrunner for $170, but because of the cost, the payWave transaction was declined.

He could not provide the pin number for the card, so it was swiped through the terminal and Koliba signed for the purchase.

At 4.30pm he went to Henry’s bottle store, on Athol St, and bought another two packets of cigarettes for $53.80.

The wallet was later recovered and returned to the victim.

When spoken to by police Koliba admitted the facts and said he had been in financial trouble and regretted his actions.

Defence counsel Liam Collins said Koliba was in New Zealand on a tourist visa, had missed his flight home, had no ability to work, no money and no way of paying reparation.

‘‘He has a bicycle, a tent and [is] living somewhere in the bush down Sunshine Bay.

‘‘Immigration [New Zealand] is waiting for this case to conclude before deporting him.’’

He was going to sell his ‘‘earthly belongings’’ in Queenstown, but that would not earn enough money for reparation, Mr Collins said.

Instead, for using the card Judge Bernadette Farnan ordered him to pay $343.39 once he was back in his home country.

For stealing the card he was convicted and discharged.

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