The thin blue line developed flesh tones when a naked off-duty Balclutha policeman foiled an attempted car theft after he leaped from his bed and chased the offender.
Constable Tom Taylor didn't think twice about leaving his regulation police-issue pants on the bedroom floor when his property was threatened. His lack of coverage has attracted coverage of a different kind in police magazine Ten One.
Mr Taylor said yesterday one of his colleagues had sent the story to the magazine. "It's good to have nice workmates." The saga began after he was woken by his wife one morning when she heard noises outside their home. "My wife woke up and thought a car out in the street had stopped or run out of petrol." He then recognised the sound of his wife's car's starter motor being turned over.
"It was a hot, hot night," he said, explaining his lack of attire.
His instincts as a police officer over-rode any thoughts of modesty, he said. "By the time I'd got some jocks and shorts on and running shoes he'd have been gone." He grabbed a torch and raced outside to grab the offender, who had managed to roll the car only a short distance out of the carport. The offender then fled with Mr Taylor legging it in hot pursuit.
His wife, suitably clothed, arrived outside shortly afterwards. Mr Taylor deputised her on the spot and asked her to cut off the villain at the gate to their property.
When the offender ran into her she grabbed him by the collar, he said.
"He was making some sort of feeble explanation as I caught up with them." However, Mr Taylor's nudity startled the offender who dropped two bags he was carrying and fled into the darkness. "Man he could move." A check of the bags found identification that revealed the offender was a "thieving git from Christchurch", Mr Taylor said.
The tale took another twist when Mr Taylor's wife spotted the offender hitch-hiking north of Balclutha. Police gave him a lift to the station shortly afterwards.
In explanation, he told police he had tried to reason with Mr Taylor, whom he did not realise was a constable.
"His words were, 'the angry naked man wouldn't listen, he just got more and more angry with me'," Mr Taylor said.
The man was charged with trespass and unlawfully interfering with a motor vehicle. A court appearance is pending.
- The Southland Times