Tips jars are ripe for the picking – judge

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It’s a suprise more people don’t try flogging jars full of tips, a judge has mused in Queenstown District Court. 

Judge Dominic Flatley made the comment after hearing how Queenstowner Jonathon Davies, a 30-year-old skydiving photographer, grabbed Fergburger’s tip jar through the serving window and tipped the takings into his pocket. 

“I always thought these outfits take a risk with having their money there,” Judge Flatley says. 

“It always surprises me more people don’t have a go at taking it.” 

A bystander sprung Davies pocketing tips from the iconic Queenstown fast food joint about 1.30am on January 26. Davies scarpered, only to be caught on nearby Beach Street – but without any money on him. 

Davies disputed he’d committed the crime – he was intoxicated at the time – until he viewed CCTV footage of him in the act, the Queenstown District Court heard. 

It’s unknown what happened to the cash. 

Davies paid $200 to Fergburger staff to replace the stolen stash, estimated to be worth about $50, and was discharged without conviction for the theft.

Something fishy
Arrowtown fish distributor Shaun Fa’amalepe (right) has been stung for buying fish illegally off an undercover fisheries officer. 

Fa’amalepe, managing director of Fresh Fish Brothers Limited, was busted buying black market blue cod from the fisheries officer on three occasions in October and November 2009 and March last year. 

Fa’amalepe’s lawyer Tony Oxnevad argued the circumstances were similar to entrapment, saying the fisheries officer approached Fa’amalepe during a general check and told him stories about needing to swap the fish for money. Oxnevad added Fa’amalepe had asked for legimate paperwork each time. 

Judge Flatley said since Fa’amalepe had pleaded guilty, the facts weren’t in dispute. 

Fa’amalepe was fined $1500.

Fernhill pursuit
A French river surfing guide who led police on a high-speed chase through Fernhill has been fined $1000. 

Nicolas Gutierrez, 26, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop when followed by red/blue flashing lights and unlawfully in an enclosed yard last month. 

Gutierrez bolted from cops after being spotted driving between 80 – 100km/hr through road works on Lake Esplanade. 

He raced up Fernhill with police in pursuit, and his “vehicle crossed to the opposite lane as it travelled through several blind corners on the way up Fernhill Road”, police facts state. 

The Frenchman drove down Greenstone Place, onto Watts Road and stopped at a Dart Place address before he abandoned the car and fled. The police collared him the following day.

Mrs Mop stopped
A cleaner weaving wildly in her car – with sparks flying from a bare tyre rim – has lost her license. 

Catherine Goswell, 19, had hit a curb while driving on Arthurs Point Road, shreaded her tyre, and continued driving for another 500 metres before crashing into a bank on February 26. 

Goswell was fined $1000 plus court costs and disqualified for driving for nine months for refusing to give blood and operating a vehicle carelessly. She was also convicted and discharged on one charge of refusing to accompany a police officer. 

Judge Flatley called her actions “extremely careless”.