Robbed tourists inundated with public offers

By Rebecca Quilliam

Tauranga Police Senior Sergeant Glen Saunders says that hitchhiking does carry an element of risk. Photo / Thinkstock
Tauranga Police Senior Sergeant Glen Saunders says that hitchhiking does carry an element of risk. Photo / Thinkstock

Bay of Plenty police have been inundated with calls from the public offering support to two French tourists robbed of nearly all their possessions in a violent attack over the weekend.

The 21-year-old men were attacked by two men when they were hitch-hiking from Mt Maunganui to Rotorua.

Police said the men picked up the tourists in a sedan and drove along State Highway 2 before pulling into a layby just before Welcome Bay Rd, where they assaulted them and stole most of their gear, including passports, clothes, cellphones and a back pack.

Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier of Mt Maunganui police told APNZ they had received calls from many people phoning in to offer the victims support.

"They've been offering accommodation, food and clothing to the guys.''

He was going to pass the messages on to the men this afternoon.

But nobody had called with information about the identity of the attackers.

Both of the travellers suffered minor injuries and one was punched in the face a couple of times, Mr Brazier said earlier.

"This was a nasty robbery with aggravating features of two innocent, defenceless young guys by two criminals who we need to find before they do it again. It was a completely unprovoked attack on these two young guys which has left them traumatised and now reconsidering their visit to New Zealand.''

The tourists were able to write down the black, four-door sedan's licence plate number - ZR9879 - as it drove away, but police say those plates could have been removed by now.

The French Embassy in New Zealand was helping to get them replacement passports and documents.

Mr Brazier said police would like to hear from anyone who saw the hitch-hikers being picked up or dropped off, anyone who saw the vehicle or knows where it is, or anyone who knows where the offenders are.

- NZ Herald

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