Police crackdown on insurance fraud

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Queenstown police are cracking down on tourists making false insurance claims while holidaying in the resort. 

A 22-year-old Australian was collared at Queenstown Airport last weekend while trying to fly home with a laptop computer and a camera that he’d earlier reported as being stolen. 

“It’s the time of year when we start getting a lot of these type of offences cropping up,” intelligence support officer Haley MacKenzie says. 

“The gentleman from Australia reported his belongings had been pinched from his car while he was skiing at Coronet Peak but he was surprised by officers at the airport who found he still had the items with him when trying to leave the country. 

“Some visitors think they can come here and make these sorts of bogus complaints then claim back cash on their insurance, but they don’t realise we will take this seriously.” 

MacKenzie adds: “What some people don’t seem to grasp is that what might look like an easy way of raising some extra cash can soon turn into a very expensive hassle if new flights have to be booked and fines paid.” 

The alleged Aussie offender was taken back to the resort from the airport and charged with making a false statement. 

Street brawling woman

Five men and a woman were arrested after a mass fight broke out in Brecon Street at 1am last Sunday. 

“It’s believed that two groups of people had been having a verbal argument when it all turned a bit nasty,” MacKenzie comments. 

“A scrap then broke out in the street and police were called to break it up. It’s alleged that the girl was the main culprit.” 

The female, from Australia, was charged with assault and fighting in a public place and the males warned for their behaviour. 

Beer goggles

An Aussie drinker has been charged with theft after sneaking behind the counter at a Queenstown pub and allegedly passing out bottles of beer to his mates. 

“Apparently he took a fancy to some free Corona and helped himself, which wasn’t the brightest of ideas,” MacKenzie observes. 

The 20-year-old man was arrested following the incident at Frasers Bar on Steamer Wharf at 11pm last Saturday.

Recognise this watch?

Local police want to hear from any Queenstowners who may have been the victim of a house burglary or theft from a car in the past year. 

A distinctive Cartier watch is among a haul of stolen goods found by cops in Christchurch when they recently arrested a serial thief who had been targeting the Wakatipu. 

“We believe the watch may belong to someone in the Queenstown area and it has a personalised engraving on it,” MacKenzie says. 

“There are also a lot of other items like iPods, cameras and jewellery that have still to be identified.”