The young man who thought it was "cool" riding in broadcaster Paul Holmes' stolen Jeep has been sentenced to 100 hours' community work.
When Matthew Adam Jury, 19, saw the keys in the ignition of the $60,000 Jeep he thought it was too good to be true. He jumped in, revved it up and told his mate Zane Smiley Hodgson, 18, to hop in and drive.
"It was very cool," Jury said.
But the pair's road trip from Hawke's Bay to Taupo ended before it really started because police stopped them after learning the pair had driven off without paying for $151 of petrol.
After pleading guilty in the Napier District Court earlier this month, Jury said outside court that he didn't know at the time who the Jeep Grand Cherokee belonged to.
He still wasn't 100 per cent sure who the veteran broadcaster was. "I sort of know who he is. He used to be on TV."
Holmes has been recuperating at his Hawke's Bay home since undergoing open heart surgery in June.
His Jeep was stolen after he went into a pharmacy in Hastings to fill a prescription from his cardiologist. He was inside for 10-15 minutes and when he returned his vehicle was gone.
Police stopped the pair shortly afterwards on State Highway 5, heading towards Taupo.
They returned the Jeep to Holmes that afternoon - with a full tank of petrol.
Yesterday, Jury's lawyer Michael McAleer said the boys stole the Jeep so they could visit Hodgson's mother who was dying of cancer.
Jury was handed down 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay $76 reparation. Hodgson received the same sentence earlier this month.
- The Dominion Post