Fergburger staff foil Queenstown phone thief

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Burger flippers turned detectives, catching a thief two hours after he stole a mobile phone from a popular Queenstown restaurant. 

Quick-thinking Ferburger staff downloaded an image of the man from their security cameras to their mobile phones. 

They later spotted him at a Trenz function, forced him to hand over the iPhone and reported him to police. 

A Ferburger supervisor says: “He was stunned. 

“Could you imagine that – you steal a phone and an hour later someone comes up to you and says we have security footage of you, hand it back. 

“He was wearing a very distinctive hoodie and easy to spot. He very promptly returned it. 

“It’s a small town.” 

Queenstown police have charged a 24-year-old British male with the theft. He’ll appear in court next week. 

In an unrelated incident, another alleged phone thief was apprehended by police on Gorge Road after an eagle-eyed member of the public re­cognised him from an appeal on the Queenstown police Facebook page. 

The 21-year-old Brit has been charged with theft. 

The Fergburger phone theft was the second incident at the restaurant in as many weeks. A woman’s handbag was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 5. 

The Fergburger supervisor says: “We have sent the footage to the police and clearly identified the culprit – we almost want to go sending the image around again. 

“From our point of view we have excellent security systems and it’s all about doing whatever we can for the customers and looking after them.” 

Queenstowner Rebecca Cooper, 34, who had her handbag nicked, is warning others to be vigilant. 

Cooper says: “I put my bag down to eat my chips. One of my mates got up to get a cab so I got up to say goodbye and didn’t think anything of it. These girls came out of Fergbaker and passed it behind the back of their legs and 
walked off with it. 

“It wasn’t even a minute. I looked back and there was nothing there.” 

Cooper lost her wallet, all her debit and credit cards, driver’s licence, a Billabong voucher and $5. A couple of weeks earlier, she had her boots stolen from Queenstown Gym while teaching a yoga class. 

“The ski season is starting … lock up your stuff, don’t take it for granted and don’t let anyone take advantage of you,” she says. 

“And if something does happen, report it and ask if they have CCTV.” 

Winter driving scrapes 

A driver who skidded off the Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd last weekend had to wait four hours to be recovered. 

The 63-year-old Queenstowner skidded off the road at 4am on Sunday morning about 25km out of town. 

The man couldn’t get mobile reception but was luckily recovered by a search and rescue team on its way to a training exercise in Glenorchy. 

On Tuesday evening as snow fell to low levels, a 31-year-old Queenstown woman lost control of her car on State Highway 6 near Gibbston Valley Wines. The woman’s car crossed over the road, through a deer fence and about 100 metres into the deer park. 

Both drivers were not injured and passed breath tests. 

Sergeant Mark Gill says: “Winter is almost here. 

“There’s snow on the hills so we expect a few more incidents over the coming weeks as conditions worsen,” he says.
Queenstown Lakes District Council transport manager Denis Mander says “chains must be carried” and signs are in place on the treacherous Crown Range Rd to Wanaka. 

Thai boxing on CBD streets 

Stunned shoppers watched as a large street brawl broke out in Queenstown in the middle of the afternoon on Mother’s Day. 

About eight people were involved in the fight outside The Loft Apartments on Shotover Street at 2pm on Sunday. 

Police used pepper spray to subdue two Thai teenagers who were still at the scene by the time the police arrived.
Sgt Keith Newall says: “We had reports they were punching and kicking each other and there was lots of shouting. 

“It appears to have been an argument over a girl.” 

An 18-year-old Thai man was given a pre-charge warning, while a 16-year-old was referred to Youth Aid.