Quick bank card system made crime spree ‘easy’

Court House-general2Pay-wave and tap-n-go bank card systems made it easy for Ricky James Foster to carry out his two-month crime spree around Christchurch’s petrol stations.

The 32-year-old was using bank cards he stole by breaking into cars, and as long as he didn’t try to buy anything over $80 he could use them without a signature or PIN number.

He was doing it to buy cigarettes that he could sell to get money. He had to act fast after each break-in to use the bank cards before the owners found out and shut them down. He said he did it “for the thrill”.

From April to June, the offending mounted up to $4576 and after Foster’s guilty pleas to 37 charges, he has now begun a one-year jail term.

Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell said the offending had been premeditated, carried out over a long period, and there was still a significant risk to the community.

Defence counsel Josh Lucas said Foster had fallen in with the wrong crowd. They would drink and then go out and commit the offences.

He broke into seven motor vehicles. “He stole bank cards and other items and used the cards throughout the petrol stations of Christchurch as a result of the advent of pay-wave.”

Mr Lucas told the court: “It is very easy offending to do. Mr Foster says he will not do it in the future.”

Foster now realised these were not good friends. Since his arrest in June he had not committed more offences nor breached his bail.

He admitted the break-ins and 30 charges of dishonestly using bank cards. The banks have repaid the victims.

Judge Strettell said that because of the system now available, Foster was able to present the bank cards and make purchases up to $80 without any checks on whether he genuinely held the card.

He said: “From the point of view of the ease of committing offences, the availability of tap-n-go has unfortunately presented significantly greater opportunities to those who might use the facility illegally.”

He noted the victim impact statements which told of feelings of “violation” after the break-ins, as well as the inconvenience of cancelling and replacing bank cards, repairing cars, and the loss of property.

He jailed Foster for a year and ordered him to pay the reparations, by instalments, after his release.



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