West Coast parcel mystery deepens
Intrigue over mystery parcels sent randomly to West Coasters from an unknown sender in Paris has deepened.
A French teenager has contacted the New Zealand media to claim responsibility for sending the five parcels to Greymouth and Hokitika residents two months ago.
News of the parcels, which contained money, hair dryers or hair clippers and a thank-you note, made international headlines in mid-May.
Police, New Zealand Post and Customs, along with Interpol, were unable to find the source of the five parcels, which were fingerprinted and tested for drugs but proved to be clean.
A man, who declined to be named, yesterday emailed several media outlets saying he sent the parcels as a publicity stunt to launch his website.
He wanted to make money from the website to pay for a dentist's bill and rent, he said.
The Press phoned him in the Netherlands yesterday but he was unable to prove he was the clandestine sender, despite being adamant he had sent 14 similar parcels to the West Coast to prompt intrigue.
He said he searched on the internet for a community "which didn't have many stories", and settled on Greymouth.
"If you look at The New York Times, they have many stories," he said.
"If you do it in some place with people who know each other, a little town with not much happening, it will grow more than people whose neighbours don't know them."
The man, who said he was a 19-year-old from a town near Paris but lived in the Netherlands, said he had sent 11 letters almost two weeks ago to random Greymouth people.
However, his details failed to tally with police information, including addresses he claimed he sent parcels to in Greymouth.
Senior Sergeant Allyson Ealam, of the Greymouth police, said she doubted he was the real sender because none of the parcels went to streets that he named.
"I think he's bogus," she said.
"It defies logic if he needs money to pay for his mortgage and dentist bill, why would he send money in the first place?"
All the parcels contained either $100 or 100 (NZ$154), and several had a handwritten note saying, "Thanks for being a true friend".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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