An Australian secondary school pupil has been fined $1700 for a shoplifting spree during a winter sporting trip to Queenstown.
Reuben William Wikitera, 18, of Canberra, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in the Queenstown District Court yesterday charged with six counts of theft involving clothing, jewellery, greenstone and ski goggles valued at more than $1600 between August 18 and August 22.
The Dickson College pupil, who was arrested on Thursday, was part of a school trip with 18 pupils and three teachers to Queenstown and the Southern Lakes.
A shop assistant spotted the teenager stealing a rugby jersey from a store, followed him and called police, who discovered what was described as an "Aladdin's cave" of stolen goods.
Items were stolen from Alta, Skyline gift shop, Budget 123, The Gift Centre, Alpine Artifacts and DF Souvenirs.
Judge Phillips said Wikitera consistently lied and was thoroughly dishonest.
"I have been watching you in the dock, you are an arrogant young man, full of self-importance. That's appalling for an 18-year-old. I think the best thing to do is get you out of our country."
Sergeant Grant Gerken said Wikitera denied the offending and when presented with evidence still denied offending, saying most of the items were paid for or were gifts.
Other pupils and teachers returned to Australia on Friday but one teacher stayed behind with Wikitera. Lawyer Sonia Vidal said the school was considering expelling him and it appeared he was trying to "show off" to his peers.
Most of the items were recovered and returned.
- © Fairfax NZ News