Passport thief gets away Scot free

BY MARK HOTTON IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2009

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Te Anau police have identified a thief who brazenly stole a British man's passport, but will not pursue an arrest or attempt to recover the document.

A police spokeswoman said a Scottish man reported the theft of his passport from a bus heading into Milford Sound earlier this week.

The passport had been in a coloured courier bag that attracted the attention of a cheeky kea when the bus stopped at the Chasm on the Milford road.

While the driver was in a compartment beneath the bus, the kea grabbed the package. When the driver turned back, the startled kea flew off into the bush with the package. It has not been recovered and considering the size of Fiordland, is unlikely to be.

The Scottish man, who did not want to be identified, said he had been waiting for about a month for the passport to be returned from Wellington.

"Being Scottish, I've got a sense of humour so I did take it with humour but obviously there is one side of me still raging," he said.

"My passport is somewhere out there in Fiordland. The kea's probably using it for fraudulent claims or something. I'll never look at a kea in the same way."

A replacement from the British High Commission in Wellington could take as long as six weeks and cost up to $400.

"I was planning to go home to Scotland in August so I'm hoping to get that sorted pretty quickly."

He said the bus driver did not know what was in the package but his "pale expression" convinced him he wasn't joking that it contained a passport.

The Scotsman did not hold the driver or the company responsible. "They do us a great service by bringing stuff in and it was just one of those unfortunate things. It just happens.

"You can't make that sort of stuff up." 

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