Queenstown police make sweet bust


A QUEENSTOWN sweet shop owner has praised police after they caught more suspected offenders through Facebook.

Officers uploaded photos and a video of four youngsters accused of stealing $40 worth of lollies from Remarkables Sweet Shop last month.

The foursome were identified on Tuesday as students from an upmarket Adelaide school, police say. They are believed to have been on a school trip at the time. 

“It’s nice to see a result,” shop owner Jono Palmer says. 

“You need to nip it in the bud – stop the young ones at an early stage before they evolve to high-level crime.

“It proves that the wide online community is supportive of these endeavours.”

Officers spoke to the principal of the school on Tuesday evening.

“He’s expressed his disappointment at the behaviour of some of his students,” senior constable Chris Blackford says.

The force’s Facebook page has scored a number of victories in identifying people accused of crimes.

In March last year, an elderly English tourist was arrested after stealing a piece of fabric art from Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown.

The woman, on a holiday bus trip to New Zealand, had left Queenstown but was identified through social media and stopped by officers in Te Anau.

The sweet shop video reached almost 8000 people through social media while a still image reached almost 4000. 

Queenstown retailers have been hit by shoplifting Australian students a number of times in recent years.

Australian teen Rueben William Wikitera, 18, paid more than $2000 in fines and court costs after admitting a four-day shoplifting spree in the resort last August.

Police had found an “Aladdin’s Cave” of stolen property in the teenager’s hotel bedroom.

And in 2010, 16 pupils from a Melbourne single-sex Catholic school were reprimanded after roaming the CBD stealing from stores.

Bear Grylls coppers
Police conducted a “Bear Grylls-style” rescue after a drunken teenager became tangled in brambles.

The 18-year-old girl was walking along Hensman Road shortly after 11pm on Tuesday.

“She’s fallen down a bank into some brambles and couldn’t get out,” Blackford says. 

“I suppose she’s been held back by a combination of alcohol and the plants.

“The report says officers effected a ‘Bear Grylls-style’ rescue,” Blackford adds.

The teenager suffered cuts.

Film school reject
An Irishman penned a grovelling letter to Chinese film students after trying to sleep in their room while drunk.

Officers were called to a Gorge Rd motel at 6.20am on Saturday.

“He’s gone into the room occupied by students of the Beijing Film Academy,” sergeant Tracy Haggart says. “It’s caused alarm to them and their teacher. He wrote a letter of apology and so wasn’t arrested.”

Car crashes onto garage
Police inquiries are continuing after a motorist crashed into a Queenstown garage.

The 20-year-old lost control on Highview Terrace at about 12.20am yesterday.

“He’s lost control on a bend, collided into a parked vehicle, some rubbish bins, shrubbery and come to a halt at the garage,” Blackford says.

“There were no injuries. Speed is considered to possibly be a contributory factor.”

Beer festival boneheads
A couple was arrested at the Heartland Craft Beer Festival in Frankton after allegedly assaulting security staff.

A British man, 44, allegedly head-butted a security man after being asked to leave at about 6pm, chipping the bouncer’s tooth. When the Brit was restrained by security, his 42-year-old partner from Clyde allegedly became involved.

“She was swinging punches,” Haggart says. “They were intoxicated.”

Both were restrained until police arrived and have been charged with assault.

Old enough to know better
Two Wanaka men were arrested after damaging a shop window while “play fighting” in Queenstown CBD.

The men, 47 and 38, were spoken to by officers on Rees Street, Queenstown, shortly after 9pm on Saturday.

The elder man had crashed through a window. He’s been charged with wilful damage.

“He was not cooperative with police and was arrested,” Haggart says.

“The other male became involved and was arrested for detox.”

Come get your stuff
Queenstown police have a number of wallets and sundries belonging to people they’ve identified but can’t contact.

Jonathon Giffrin, Oliver Hole, Anna Leiser, Ann Brown, Marlechai Kremer, Ana Sartore, Leonard Kaufman, Roy Smith, Peter Crowe, Tariki Griffiths, Lindsay Day and R.E. Hatton all have goods at the Queenstown police station.