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Thief legs it with valuable pounamu

TOM HUNT
Last updated 16:12 04/07/2014
Stolen Pounamu
A thief took of with this piece of pounamu, which weighs 60kg, from a Wellington gallery.

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A brazen thief ''legged it'' down a central Wellington street in the middle of the day with a stolen 60kg pounamu boulder.

The mystery of the $32,000 theft grows thicker, with the getaway car registered to a man in jail at the time of the theft.

Kura Gallery co-owner Ben Dods said that two men came into his Allen St shop at midday on Tuesday this week.

While one of them was ''running distraction'' by talking to him, and briefly also involving the shop assistant, the other man picked up a polished pounamu boulder and ''legged it down the street'' to a waiting blue, four-door sedan.

A passerby,  who spotted the man running down the street with a 60kg boulder, thought something was suspicious, noted the licence plate of the car the man got in, then came into the shop asking if something had been stolen.

It was only then that they realised something had been stolen and the other man, who had been playing distraction, disappeared in the ''chaos''.

Dods called police, who tracked down the registration of the car to a Kapiti address but the owner was in jail on other matters.

The car itself was still missing, Dods said.

Both men were in their late-20s. One was pakeha, wearing a grey sweat shirt and black cap while the other was Maori with a black cap and black sweat shirt.

The 60kg pounamu was polished. It is 60cm by 40cm by 15cm.

Dods believed the thieves had targeted the piece as it was with two others, which were too heavy to carry.

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- The Dominion Post

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