Under New Zealand law there are 2 categories of car theft. The lesser category “car conversion” is for when someone steals a car to temporarily “convert” it for their own use. After a wee while, they give it back (or leave it somewhere to be found… probably with the fuel tank empty and some extra dents in the panelwork).
It was less than 3 months ago that Christchurch police had to “apologise” because of a vehicle they had improperly seized.
A Nissan car had been seen driving in an unsafe manner on a certain stretch of road. Some distance away, police found a young man driving a Nissan car of similar colour. A towtruck was called and the vehicle was seized on the spot. Despite the strongest verbal protestations from the driver of the vehicle and his passenger at the time. There was NO photographic evidence or any other corroboratng evidence available to support the police’s belief that it was his car.
Aaron Hill’s car was taken to an supposedly secure storage facility which contracts for a profit to provide safe custody storage for police impound. (Lismore Storage in Waltham).
The premises were not secure enough, it would seem, (for a rare, imported car) and during the time of impound, the car was taken from the open yard, stripped down and it’s parts stolen. Pictures were posted online and the owner of the car discovered by himself that his car was utterly destroyed and completely un-recoverable.
Meanwhile the police officers involved and the impound yard, were laughing themselves silly over the wages and fees they get paid.
Oh afterwards police ‘said sorry’ I’m sure. (URL Link at bottom of page).
Another incident has happened, which again should put police in Christchurch on notice.
It would seem now that the police are deliberately committing acts of car conversion themselves nowadays.
According to the Fairfax’s Stuff website a woman has had her car forcibly impounded, even though it failed to match the registration or even the brand of car that an un-verified complaint was made about.
Again there was NO photographic or other corroborating evidence produced. Simply someone’s recall of a licence plate number, a car brand and colour (a red Nissan Skyline registration FVD 473 being driven by a young man).
As the police are so overstaffed and have nothing better to do with their time and our tax money, they zipped right over to some poor woman’s place, who lives half the city away, where they impounded on the spot, her Subaru rego FUD 437 (but hey, the car was the same colour, that’s all that matters to them).
Police stole the car, yes they committed car conversion, they took it away from her for their own purposes, with the intention of allowing her to retrieve it in 28 days time (subject to paying a further fee of several hundred dollars).
The car’s owner (Fiona Reid) had shopping receipts to show she was halfway across Christchurch at the time of the supposed boy-racer driving offence took place. She contacted the shop involved to check that surveillance footage was available, that indeed showed her in the area at the time.
It was impossible for her car to have been the one claimed to have been doing burnouts.
The shop would only provide surveillance film to the police directly.
Fortunately Fiona Reid was able to gain assistance from one honest and hardworking police officer at the Papanui police station, and she was later allowed to go and collect her car before the 28 days were up.
(Hey here’s a point, when police steal cars, they take them from wherever you are at the time and leave you standing on the side of the road, possibly at night, in the rain, in danger… whatever. When the police have to return a car because it’s seizure was found to be totally unfoundered, shouldn’t they have to transport the car back to wherever YOU are located at that time ??)
As the driver of a small car, I see shocking incidents on the road around me every day. Hardly a day goes by where a driver doesn’t deliberately run a red light across in front of me. It is sensible to have systems in place where drivers can “dob” in incidences of bad driving. However there needs to be a substantially better system of verifying claims made by members of the public, before cars are simply towed away (leaving people car-less for a month at a time). Cars kept at facilities for police impound MUST be kept absolutely secure. For a virtually irreplaceable, rare imported model, to be stolen, and stripped while in “safe custody” on behalf of the police, is simply unforgivable.
Here is a link to the Fairfax/Stuff article
Here is a link to the earlier story.