Wellington man drives 2000km in pursuit of his stolen trailer - while police do 'sweet bugger all'
Les Newman clocked up 2000 kilometres in pursuit of his stolen trailer, and all the while police just "sat on their arses", he says.
Newman is the first to admit a stolen $3000 trailer is not the crime of the year, but given he supplied police with a photo of the thief, along with her apparent name, address, and licence details, he is flabbergasted they did not even visit the woman at home.
"All the information has been handed to them on a bloody plate," the Wellington semi-retiree says.
But instead he was left to travel the lower North Island in his hunt for the trailer – which he never found, but did uncover a curious case of identity theft and child neglect along the way.
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As he clocked up the kilometres in separate trips from Wellington to Palmerston North, Hawke's Bay, and Taranaki, he often drove past patrol cars, in which officers "sat on their arses giving out speeding tickets for 5kmh over", while little to no police resources were put into his case, he said.
Newman has a business hiring out trailers through service stations, and it was at one such site in Masterton, Wairarapa, that the saga began.
A woman, supplying her car registration, address, and licence details, rented a trailer in early August but never returned with it. The transaction was filmed on security cameras.
Police told him they recognised the woman and would drive past a local gang gathering the following weekend to see if they could spot the trailer.
Nothing appeared to happen for about a fortnight, so Newman thought "bugger it" and drove to the supplied address in Palmerston North.
There he found a woman whose licence had been used to rent the trailer. But the picture was actually of her former friend, who had taken off with both her boyfriend and her licence.
Now armed with the thief's real name and her last known address, Newman notified police. Two days later, when nothing had been done, he drove to Hawke's Bay, where a boy of about 11 opened the door.
He said his mother had left him with two siblings in the care of their grandfather.
They did not know her new address, but believed she had moved to Toko, in rural Taranaki.
"THEY ARE DOING NOTHING"
Again, Newman called police. Again, nothing happened. So he drove to Toko, did a tour around the town without seeing his trailer, and returned to Wellington.
He had had other trailers stolen in the past, but this one got under his skin more than others, he said – partly because police had done "sweet bugger all".
"They are sitting on their arses. They know what is going on, and they are doing nothing about it."
In his frequent calls to police, he complained about their inaction. One time he was handed an Independent Police Conduct Authority form to fill out.
"If they ran another business like this, they would go broke."
A statement from police on Sunday said police were investigating with a goal to returning the trailer.
"The investigation file has now been sent to the Wairarapa to locate and speak to a suspect.
"We have made a number of inquiries and continue to do so. We can confirm we have a person of interest as part of the investigation."
The statement said police appreciated the information Newman had provided. "We are optimistic about locating the suspect and recovering the stolen trailer."