Bail eased for holidays

By Chloe Johnson

Festive deal for duo on theft charge.

Cox and Williams. Photo / Doug Sherring
Cox and Williams. Photo / Doug Sherring

Two men charged with endangering the public by stealing hundreds of fire inlets from residential and commercial buildings - including the Fire Service headquarters - have had their bail conditions eased so that they can enjoy Christmas celebrations.

Reuben Timothy Cox, 24, and Ben Williams, 22, appeared in the North Shore District Court this week for the first time since their release from custody.

Cox and Williams - both from the North Shore - have been on electronic monitoring and a 24-hour curfew, respectively. Bail conditions include no consumption of drugs and alcohol, plus not associating with each other.

This week, Cox's defence counsel Sumudu Thode said the alcohol condition should be lifted because of temptations around Christmas.

"Leading up to the Christmas break we don't want him to be put in a place where he is set up to fail," Thode said.

She said the condition was not necessary because alcohol was not involved at the time of the alleged offending.

The men and a third defendant, Michael Alapati, face a charge of criminal nuisance endangering public safety and entering various residential and commercial buildings throughout the North Island.

Cox has also been charged with possessing a shotgun, explosives and cultivating cannabis.

Alapati is not due to appear in court until next month.

Police allege the men drove around Wellington, Rotorua, Hamilton, Tauranga and Auckland in a white Mitsubishi Delica van between January and July. It's claimed they wore high-visibility jackets while pretending to service the fire hydrants. Instead they allegedly removed the connections, which cost the taxpayer $1000 each to replace.

Police said the connections were sold to four different scrap-metal dealers for $10/kg.

Community magistrate Philip Greenbank removed the alcohol condition and minimised their curfew from 24 hours to 7pm to 7am.

The trio are due to appear in court on November 15.

- Herald on Sunday

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