Three arrested after tourist bus ransacked in Otago

Tourists travelling in Otago had tens of thousands of dollars worth of bags, passports and wallets stolen off a bus on Sunday.

Police were called to Shag Point near Palmerston at 12.50pm on Sunday, after a tourist bus with overseas travellers arrived back from the beach to find their bus had been broken into and ransacked.

Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond said at least a dozen bags, wallets and other gear had been stolen.

“Probably together valued at at least 20 to $30,000 … by the time you add in cash, bags, stuff they had in the bags, the wallets, clothing and then the value of replacement passports,” Bond said.

Police used the bus’ CCTV footage to identify the hire vehicle used.

The Christchurch-based vehicle’s owners told them it was hired for 30 minutes on Friday night and never returned, but they had a GPS tracker on it, he said.

Police tracked it to Timaru in Canterbury, arresting three residents at 1.30pm on Sunday – 40 minutes after the ransacking was called in.

A 34-year-old man was charged with unlawfully getting into a vehicle, willful damage, theft ex car and possession of cannabis and methamphetamine.

A 28-year-old man charged with unlawfully getting into as vehicle and theft, and a 26-year-old woman charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.

They are due to appear in Timaru District Court on Monday.

Bond said most of the stolen goods had been returned.

As for the tight turnaround, he said “I guess the joys of being able to do a lot of that over phone”.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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