Kiwi criminals no masterminds
By LEIGH VAN DER STOEP - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 06 January 2008

The Sunday Star-Times would like to recognise the criminal nitwits who deserve awards for their outrageously stupid antics over the past year.

Law-abiding Kiwis can probably rest easy knowing that criminals of this calibre are not likely to escape the arm of the law by any great margin.

Winner of the "close but no cigar" award

An Auckland woman whose plan to scam her female victim was foiled by a bank slip. Late last year the woman deliberately drove her car into her victim's BMW.

Having lured the victim from her car and distracted her by apologising for the "accident", her accomplices stole the victim's handbag.

It was all going according to plan until the dumb crim wrote her "insurance details" on the back of a bank transaction receipt. Police easily traced the receipt back to the woman and she was charged with reckless driving, theft and illegal use of a document.

Winner for services to the community

A young, drunk Waikato man donned a stolen police high-visibility vest and set up his own checkpoint. It went horribly wrong when he attempted to breath-test the driver of a marked police car.

"Way to go, Einstein," a police spokesman said.

2007's mechanic of the year

A tie between a young Auckland woman who attempted a petrol drive-off and a Havelock North mechanic who stole wheels from police cars.

The woman put diesel in her petrol-fuelled car and made a quick getaway but didn't get very far. She was arrested a few hundred metres up the road.

And last month mechanic Matthew Bush was sentenced to 200 hours' community service for stealing parts from police cars when he was supposed to be servicing them.

Winner for best impression of an amnesia patient

A North Shore woman disqualified from driving drove another car to the towie's lot where her impounded car was being stored. She wanted to retrieve some belongings but police arrested her on the spot and impounded the second car.

Most outstanding evasion of a parking ticket

Hamilton police arrested an irate motorist who called for help. He believed his car had been unfairly clamped in an underground carpark and hoped police would free his car. Instead, he was arrested when police discovered the car had been stolen the day before.

Best planning for a slow getaway

A quick-thinking Auckland man came home to see a burglar looting his car. Foolishly, the thief had parked his own car immediately behind his victim's, and left the keys in the ignition. The victim grabbed the keys, leaving the burglar with no getaway car. The crook tried to run but was arrested shortly afterwards.

Best use of anti-smacking legislation

A Christchurch man was ordered to pay $500 to charity after his merrymaking got the better of him and he slapped two uniformed policemen on the bottom. The officers didn't find the joke quite so funny and charged the reveller with assault.


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