Man admits parking meter raids

A 45-year-old man admits raids on Christchurch parking meters but disputes that he was responsible for breaking into 178 of them and causing losses totalling $145,064.

Brent John Davie, unemployed, admitted the theft charge at a video-link appearance before Judge Brian Callaghan in the Christchurch District Court today. He also admitted shoplifting a personal grooming kit worth $199 from Briscoes in Riccarton.

Defence counsel Andrew McKenzie said Davie accepted “the majority” of the raids on the parking meters but disputed the total number and therefore disputed the amount of money involved.

Judge Callaghan remanded the case for a disputed facts hearing on August 19 which will settle the amount involved, and then Davie will appear for sentencing on September 12. He remains in custody.

Police allege the offending took place between January and March, when Davie would bike into the central city at night. He would go up to parking meters with a jemmy bar up his sleeve and force open the cash door of the meter before taking the cash tin.

“The cash tins would contain various amounts of cash in coin denominations varying from $1.70 to $1515 depending on the area and frequency of the coin collection,” the police said. They have prepared a list of the losses from each meter.

Police estimate the amount of money stolen was $60,712 and the value of the coin tins stolen was $84,352 – a combined total of $145,064. However, all figures are still in dispute.

Some of the empty coin tins would be thrown away in the area of the parking meters where members of the public found them and handed them to police. Twelve tins were found at Davie’s address during a police search.

When interviewed by the police, Davie explained that he had a severe addiction to Ritalin, methamphetamine, and gambling.

Judge Callaghan asked for a pre-sentence report including an assessment of his suitability for home detention, an alcohol and drug assessment, and referred the case for a possible restorative justice meeting.