Park buggy bandits: police charge two teenagers

Vandals stole a mobility buggy and ditched it down a bank at the Bowl of Brooklands.
Vandals stole a mobility buggy and ditched it down a bank at the Bowl of Brooklands.

Police investigating the theft and destruction of Pukekura Park's mobility buggy have made two arrests - apparently thanks to security cameras.

The arrests, yesterday, followed from calls from the public who thought they could confirm the identity of the two who were being tracked down by investigating police.

The pair, a 15 and 17-year-old, are known to police.

Security footage was published by the Taranaki Daily News of two people joyriding around the park on the eight-seater buggy on Saturday night.

The buggy was used for people unable to walk through the park.

Police said youths stole the buggy from a locked building in the park, hot-wired it, and after driving it around dumped it down a bank at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.

It is now unusable.

And the successful collaring of the pair has prompted police to call for more people to come forward to help catch those responsible for the torching of new playground equipment in October last year.

The cover of the wave, a unique trampoline-style slide, was burnt beyond repair just as the newly-installed park playground was to be officially opened.

The New Plymouth District Council-owned wave equipment was out of action for months and cost $50,000 to repair.

Sergeant Mark Johnson said police were still investigating the unsolved arson at the playground.

"There will be someone out there who these offenders have bragged to about what they have done. Someone will know about this."

Callers can contact the officer in charge, Detective Pat Tongi of the New Plymouth CIB on (06) 759 0500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The youths arrested yesterday were released on police bail. The 15-year-old is to appear in the Youth Court on March 19 and the 17-year-old will appear in the District Court on March 12.

Taranaki Daily News