NZ's biggest reward offered for medals

By Juliet zRowan, Juliet Rowan

The largest reward in New Zealand history has been offered for information leading to the return of the Waiouru Army Museum's stolen war medals.

Police and the Army yesterday said a $300,000 reward was now on offer to anyone who gave information about the missing medals, which include nine Victoria Crosses, two George Crosses and an Albert Medal.

British medals collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and a New Zealand businessman who wishes to remain anonymous have put up the money.

The museum director, retired colonel Raymond Seymour, told the Herald that the money ought to be a "very good incentive" to anyone who knew something about the December 2 heist.

"By golly, if $300,000 doesn't make someone talk about providing information about the return of these medals, I'm not sure what will," he said last night.

"It might just prick someone's conscience in order for the police to get that necessary piece of information to end this terrible saga."

Colonel Seymour has been counting the days - 46 - since thieves smashed their way into the museum at night and plundered the Valour Alcove where the medals - won by some of the country's greatest war heroes - were displayed.

The reward comprises $200,000 from Lord Ashcroft and $100,000 from the mystery New Zealander.

The offer was jointly announced by Army chief Major General Lou Gardiner and Police Commissioner Howard Broad.

Lord Ashcroft's offer came the day after the medals were stolen, but Mr Broad said there had been a delay in accepting it because of the "unusual circumstances" of the private offer.

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