Thieves hunted down after $30k tourist bus theft

Emergency services are at Shag Point (pictured) after getting reports of a diver in distress....
The tourists had stopped at Shag Point for a walk on the beach. Photo: ODT file
Police used vehicle tracking GPS to quickly hunt down a trio who allegedly broke into a tourist bus near Palmerston and stole goods valued up to $30,000.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said Dunedin police were called to a car park at Shag Point, about 12.50pm on Sunday, where a busload of tourists had stopped to take a walk on the beach.

"While they were away from there, the bus was broken into and at least a dozen wallets, bags and miscellaneous items were stolen, including passports.

"All up, probably $20,000 to $30,000 worth of property was taken, by the time you add in cash, bags, stuff they had in the bags, the wallets, clothing and the value of replacement passports too."

Snr Sgt Bond said the bus had CCTV footage which identified the vehicle the suspects had arrived in.

It turned out the vehicle was a rental, so police contacted the rental company and found the vehicle was stolen.

The rental company had the ability to GPS track the vehicle, and it was immediately tracked down to a street in Timaru, he said.

About 40 minutes later, police were able to arrest a 34-year-old man, a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, all of Christchurch.

The 34-year-old man was charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, willful damage, theft ex car and possession of cannabis and meth.

The 28-year-old was charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle and theft ex car; and the 26-year-old female was charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.

"It appears that the majority of the stolen wallets, bags, money and passports have been recovered and have been able to be returned to the tourists," Snr Sgt Bond said.