Man arrested after spate of thefts from boats in the Bay of Islands

A police car

Police located the man in Kerikeri Inlet area on July 26.
Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Police believe they have cracked a spate of thefts of and from boats in the Bay of Islands with the arrest of Kerikeri man this week.

The 35-year-old was remanded in custody when he appeared in the Kaikohe District Court on July 27 charged with stealing an $80,000 boat from Russell and three counts of breaking into vessels at Paihia.

The alleged maritime crime spree is believed to have come unstuck on July 3 when he was disturbed by the owner of a commercial vessel moored at Paihia that had been repeatedly targeted for fuel.

The owner of the commercial vessel retrieved the man’s dinghy and police found the

The man ran his dinghy aground in the dark as he was attempting to escape about 4am and had to swim to Motuarahi Island near Paihia.

He was seen near-naked on Paihia’s main road later that morning after apparently swimming back to the mainland.

Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson, of the Far North police, said the man was eventually located in the Kerikeri Inlet area on Wednesday.

He fled on foot but was tracked by a police dog and arrested without incident.

The offences occurred between February and July this year, Robinson said.

The man was due back in court for a bail hearing on August 1.

Robinson thanked members of the public for assisting the investigation, which was continuing.

He urged anyone who had been the victim of a burglary to report it so police could understand crime trends and return stolen property once it was recovered.

It is understood items from the stolen boat have been recovered but not the vessel itself.

The owner of the commercial vessel targeted on July 3 retrieved the man’s dinghy and police found the man’s clothing on the island.

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