Church thief no-show at sentencing

By Amy McGillivray of the Bay of Plenty Times -
File Photo / NZ Herald
File Photo / NZ Herald

A Tauranga cleaner who stole cash and cheques donated by members of a church, forging a vicar's signature, had a warrant issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for sentencing today.

Gabriel Darren Te Huia, 39, was working as a cleaner at St John's Anglican Church in Bureta Rd when he stole donations and childcare payments totalling $1712.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of using a document to obtain pecuniary advantage and two charges of theft on September 14.

Te Huia began working at the church in September last year and stole the money from the cash box in the childcare centre and the filing cabinet in the vicar's office between May 1 and July 3.

In one instance he stole a blank church cheque, filled it out for $1280, forged signatures on it and cashed it.

He was due to be sentenced this morning in the Tauranga District Court but failed to appear.

The judge issued a warrant to arrest for his non-appearance.

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