Paul Holmes' Jeep Cherokee was stolen by two men in a "humanitarian dash to Taupo" because one of them wanted to visit his mother who was dying of cancer, his lawyer says.
Zane Smiley Hodgson, 18, and Matthew Adam Jury, 19, both pleaded guilty in Napier District Court today to charges stemming from the incident, in which they took Holmes' $60,000 vehicle when they found it parked with the keys still in the ignition while they were shopping in Hastings.
They drove towards Napier where they made off with $151.53 worth of fuel from Gull Service Station on Taradale Rd. They were caught by police about an hour later on the Napier-Taupo Road.
Representing Jury was counsel Alan Cressey, who said they had taken the vehicle to visit Hodgson's sick mother in Taupo because they had "no way of getting there".
The two were both charged with unlawfully taking the vehicle and theft of the petrol. Hodgson was also charged with driving while disqualified.
Hodgson was sentenced to 100 hours' community work, ordered to pay reparation of $76, and disqualified from driving for six months.
Jury was remanded on bail for sentencing on September 26.