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Conman arrested after 17 days free

Last updated 16:43 28/11/2013
Pita Edwards
HISTORY OF FRAUD: Pita Edwards.

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A convicted conman accused of impersonating a doctor at Wellington Hospital and suspected of breaking into Victoria University's law school has been arrested after allegedly trying to bank a stolen cheque.

Police this morning arrested 26-year-old Pita Edwards, a conman recently freed from Rimutaka prison who had a string of convictions to his name.

Edwards is understood to have more than 150 previous convictions. Police believed he was also connected to a raft of commercial burglaries since he was released from prison on November 11.

He was spotted last week at Otago Medical School on Wellington Hospital grounds wearing a white coat and stethoscope and impersonating a doctor, prompting a warning email to all hospital staff.

Police had a warrant to arrest Edwards when he was linked to this Saturday's theft at Victoria University by CCTV footage. He had also left his wallet behind at the university.

Edwards' bank accounts were being monitored by police, as were cell phones and known addresses, but they arrested him today after he allegedly tried to bank a stolen cheque.

Police suspected he was involved in burglaries from two other commercial buildings, Detective Sergeant Glenn Williams said.

Police were pleased to have Edwards in custody, but said his motivations for his alleged deceptions remained unknown, Williams said.

"The reality is, however, that his opportunistic offending has been against people going about their day-to-day jobs, many of which are focused on helping people.

"His alleged offending has affected the community for two weeks and that now been brought to an end".

Edwards will appear in Wellington District Court tomorrow on 20 charges of burglary, obtaining by deception, dishonestly taking and using documents and unlawfully being in a building. Police believed further arrests were likely.

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- The Dominion Post

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