The teenager was found with a car trunk full of cigarettes. Picture/file
A youngster from the Far North was arrested selling stolen cigarettes on the main street of Russell, a short drive from a petrol station robbed days earlier.
Senior Constable Mike Gorrie of Russell Police said the GAS gas station in Orongo Bay was burglarized on Monday night, with the offender entering through a small side window.
The assailant had, not without difficulty, forced open the cigarette cabinet using a screwdriver and taken coins from the box. A number of vapes and bottles of vaping liquid were also stolen.
A dive bag was taken from under the counter, presumably to carry the stolen items.
On Wednesday, Gorrie said he received a phone call from a member of the public reporting that a youngster was selling cigarettes from the trunk of a car on Cass St in Russell town centre.
The vehicle was stopped shortly after and several packs of cigarettes were recovered, Gorrie said.
Investigations at the youngster’s home in the Kāeo/Whangaroa area uncovered a large number of empty vape boxes and the blue Pro Dive bag recovered from the gas station.
Police also located at the address a fanny pack identical to the one carried by the offender captured by security cameras at the gas station.
It was found to contain gloves, vices and screwdrivers.
Gorrie said the 16-year-old, known to police, made a full confession.
He had been referred to police youth aid because of his age.
Gorrie thanked the Russell resident whose vigilance led him to the alleged assailant.
He urged all Northlanders to be wary of buying items such as cigarettes on the street or through social media, and to report any such activity immediately.
“If someone offers you something that’s suspiciously cheap, it’s almost certainly fishy,” he said.
Knowingly or recklessly buying stolen items is itself a crime. Receipt of stolen goods carries a maximum penalty of three months in prison for goods worth less than $500, one year for goods worth $500 to $1,000 and seven years for property valued over $1,000.