Teen's three-week meter raid in Blenheim

Dozens of parking meters in Blenheim were vandalised in May. (File photo)

Dozens of parking meters in Blenheim were vandalised in May. (File photo)

A teenager who used a screwdriver to pry open 36 parking meters in one night helped himself to hundreds of dollars over three weeks before anyone noticed.

Lethaniel Stanley Leroy, 17, used flathead screwdrivers to break into the parking meters in central Blenheim in May, a police summary said.

He took what money there was but returned on several nights over a three-week period to steal more coins as the meters filled up again. 

When spoken to by police, Leroy said he just needed the money.

READ MORE: Parking meter crime spree in Blenheim leaves motorists with free parks

Leroy was charged with wilful damage and theft. 

Police said as it was Leroy's first criminal offence he was eligible for diversion, meaning he would avoid a conviction if he paid $681 to cover the coins he stole and the cost of damage to the parking meters.

While on bail, Leroy threatened to stab two teenagers with a small knife at the Wynen St park, in Blenheim, on the afternoon of July 28.

The teenagers ran to a public toilet, locked themselves in and called their families for help.

Their family members found Leroy, took the knife from him and called police.

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When spoken to by police, he did not give an explanation for his actions.

Leroy was charged with threatening behaviour and possessing a knife in a public place. 

He was not able to pay back the money to complete diversion, so he admitted all four charges at the Blenheim District Court on Wednesday.

His lawyer John Holdaway said the teenager was "obviously adrift and about to embark on a life of crime".

Judge Chris Tuohy said he would try to put Leroy on a "better path".

He remanded him on bail to October 4 for a pre-sentencing report to be submitted before sentencing.

"You would be wise to keep your nose clean and get in no further trouble between now and sentencing," Judge Tuohy said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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