Bogus doc linked to campus break-in

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2013
Pita Edwards
HISTORY OF FRAUD: Pita Edwards.

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A freed conman spotted impersonating a doctor at Wellington Hospital is now suspected of being behind a break-in at Victoria University's law school.

Police are hunting for Pita Edwards, a recently released inmate from Rimutaka Prison, who was seen last week on Wellington Hospital grounds and at Otago Medical School wearing a white coat and a stethoscope.

They believe he is also connected to a break-in at Victoria's Pipitea campus on Saturday - because his wallet was found at the scene, and because a man fitting his description was caught on the university's security cameras.

"Police are reviewing CCTV footage and it looks likely that this is Mr Edwards," Wellington police spokesman Nick Bohm said.

"The officer has been out there and had a look, and is relatively certain that it's likely to be the same guy."

Edwards was freed on November 11, and is now considered to be on the run because he is in breach of release conditions requiring him to visit his community probation office once a week.

An email warning was sent to all Capital & Coast District Health Board staff last Tuesday after he was identified at the hospital by a visiting Corrections officer.

Police inquiries uncovered that Edwards was not living at the address to which he was released, and there was now a warrant for his arrest, Mr Bohm said.

Police could not yet say what items, if any, were taken from the campus, or whether entry into the building was forced.

The university would not say which building was affected.

Edwards, 26, is described as Maori, of medium build, and 1.72 metres tall. He has a history of more than 150 fraud and deception convictions, mostly carried out around Wellington, including burglary, theft, taking and using documents, using phones for fictitious purposes, lying to obtain money, and obtaining accommodation credit by fraud.

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- Fairfax Media

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