Man stole chocolate to silence kids

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 16:09 08/02/2013

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A man who stole more than 100 pieces of confectionery from a Palmerston North service station has told a court he did it because he was "hungry".

John Moses Tawhai, 33, pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court to theft after taking $231 worth of chocolate from the Majestic Service Station on October 21 last year.

He distracted the shop assistant with questions about tobacco, sold behind the counter, before shoving chocolates from the counter cabinets into a canvas bag and leaving the store.

He got into a car with his cousin, who drove off.

When police caught up with Tawhai later in the day, only six of the stolen sweets were left.

When they asked him what had happened to the items, he said they had been eaten.

In court, Tawhai's lawyer Mike Andrews said there were hungry, "screaming" children in the car, Tawhai himself was hungry, and he made the decision to "take what he could".

Judge Jennifer Binns said she did not consider submissions that there were "grizzling" children in the car to be adequate, and considered them an attempt to "deflect blame".

Judge Binns sentenced Tawhai to 50 hours' community work, ordered him to pay reparation to the value of the chocolates, and disqualified him from driving for six months.

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- Manawatu Standard

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