Man admits robbing taxi driver

By Michele McPherson

A female taxi driver begged for her life  when Arataki teenager James Lee Green  shoved a large butcher's knife near her face and said, "Do you want me to cut you?"
A Tauranga Mount Taxis driver picked up Green from the corner of Grenada and Matavai streets in Mount Maunganui about 11pm on April 1. He  asked to taken to a skate park on 17th Avenue.
En route,  Green, 19, said  he was part of the Mongrel Mob and would go to prison for them if they wanted him to, which made the driver  uneasy.
Then he produced a  knife, asked if the woman had children, and shoved the weapon near her face.  The victim told police she  begged for her life and screamed.
After a struggle,  Green got out and made off with the woman's bag which contained wallets, personal effects,  about $600 and a spare cellphone.
Police were called and Green was tracked  to the expressway underpass on 15th Ave. Despite a number of appeals to come out of a hiding place in a bush area, he refused and a police dog was released. Green suffered a serious dog bite to his calf, which required a skin graft and a lengthy period in hospital.
He told police he knew what he had done was silly  but had been under orders to rob the taxi.
The victim's cellphone was found in one of his pockets.

During a search of the bush area, most the stolen property was located, including $302.40 cash. Not recovered was the victim's three-stone engagement ring and about $250 in cash.
Green, who appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday, pleaded guilty to  aggravated robbery (with an offensive weapon) and possession of an offensive weapon.
The  second charge related to a separate incident at 11.55pm on April 29 in Farmers Produce Market carpark in Hamilton St.

He was seen  with a 50cm-long extendable metal baton which he was flicking around and tried to hide it when confronted by police.

His lawyer, David Bates, told Judge Bruce Davidson that no application for bail was sought, and the judge remanded Green in custody pending sentence on August 16.
Green faces up to 14 years' imprisonment.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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