A policewoman suspended from duty has been charged in relation to the theft of a car and the impersonation of an officer.
Karis Rewa Charnley, 39 - who featured in a television show about police recruits - appeared in the North Shore District Court on Wednesday charged in relation to the theft of a Mitsubishi Evo worth $11,000.
Court documents revealed she was also facing a second charge of using a police uniform in circumstances likely to lead a person to believe she was a police employee.
It is understood Charnley was not physically involved in stealing the car, but allegedly supplied her own police uniform to those who were. The Herald has learned she told police the uniform had been stolen from her.
She has been off work since last year. Several sources confirmed she had been suspended from duties over an employment matter.
The car was stolen on February 8 from a Devonport address Charnley lives near. Owner Jerome Kino was in Hamilton picking up parts for the car, which he rebuilt entirely with his father, when his mother phoned him to say a policeman was at the door.
"Two males came to the house, one dressed up as a policeman and the other in overalls," he told the Herald last night.
"Mum rang me to say they had accused me of being involved in a hit-and-run and they had an impound notice and wanted to seize my car.
"Mum said they couldn't take the car and I also spoke to them on the phone. I said I had not been in a hit-and-run and they had no proof. I think I'd know if I'd hit someone."
The "officer" told Mr Kino a woman had suffered cuts and grazes and reported him to the police. They told him the hit-and-run had been witnessed by an off-duty policeman.
Mr Kino kept telling the visitors he had not been involved in any crashes and insisted repeatedly that they could not take his car.
"They said a tow truck was coming and that they were going to take it to the police station for forensics work."
The car was without some parts as Mr Kino was preparing it for a drift competition.
The "officer" put the front bumper and intercooler back on, then pushed the car to the road.
Mr Kino's mother did not see them put the car on a tow truck.
The next day, Mr Kino called the tow company number the "officer" had left for him. It was not a real number.
"Then Mum's friend said, 'Are you sure they were police?' and Mum just burst into tears," he said.
Mr Kino reported the incident to the police and Charnley was arrested soon after.
He said he knew Charnley and her sons and was disappointed when he heard she was allegedly involved.
Mr Kino's car has not been found, and the police investigation into the theft is ongoing.
He and his friends have been out driving at every opportunity, hoping to spot it. They have also posted online photos and appeals for information about the car.
"It pisses me off," Mr Kino said. "Me and my dad have been building that car for a year. I have spent so much time, effort and money on it and I'm doing a mechanics course so I can do all the work myself.
"And now, it's just been taken from me. It's quite upsetting to put so much into something, and now it's just gone," he said.
North Shore police confirmed a female officer had been charged as a party to theft and impersonating a police officer.
"An arrest was made swiftly and charges laid," says district commander Bill Searle.
Inspector Les Paterson confirmed Charnley had been away from work for some time "while an employment matter is being resolved". But he was not permitted to give further details.
Charnley was not home when the Herald visited yesterday. She did not respond to requests for comment.
She graduated from the Police College in Porirua in 2005 as part of Wing 224. She featured in a television series about the recruits in her wing and was interviewed.
"[Being a] police officer is something I've always thought about," she said on camera. "[I] decided that's what I really wanted to do. I've felt like a complete person since I made that decision."
Described by the narrator as a "mild-mannered mum" who lacked confidence in some areas including baton training, Charnley volunteered to be filmed being pepper-sprayed in a training exercise.
"I never want to do anything to anyone that I haven't experienced."
Afterwards, as she struggled with the pain of being sprayed in the face and temporary blindness, she said she it was the most extreme pain she had ever felt.
"It was not a nice experience."
On an online profile, Charnley describes herself as a Christian and solo mum who works fulltime in security.
"I love life and think it's awesome to share love and kindness with as many people as I can everyday."
CAN YOU HELP?
If you have information about the theft of Jerome Kino's Mitsubishi Evo, contact the North Shore police on (09) 488-6200.Cop alleged to have given her uniform to