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Postie thief: reparation and work in community

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A former New Zealand Post relief driver who stole Apple products, intending to use them for parts to relieve financial stress, was yesterday sentenced to community work and supervision in the Queenstown District Court.

Indian national Kaushal Dilipbhai Prajapati (23), courier, of Frankton, admitted four counts of theft by a person in a special relationship, between July 14 and 22 last year.

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Prajapati helped himself to an Apple Homepod Mini, Apple i-Pad, Apple Macbook laptop and an Apple pen after they had been accepted by New Zealand Post for delivery in Queenstown.

His former employer spent more than 60 work hours trawling through CCTV footage to uncover the crimes.

All bar the Macbook laptop, valued at $2849, were recovered when police executed a search warrant at Prajapati’s home address on October 27, last year.

Defence counsel Megan Waller said Prajapati was deeply remorseful for his actions and destroying the trust his employer had in him.

He had been employed by NZ Post for about two years and during the first lockdown was put on the wage subsidy, which had a “significant impact on him, financially”.

“Around the same time, his father in India suffered a heart attack, and he felt an obligation to provide financial support, because he was the oldest son,” Mrs Waller said.

“At that time he could barely afford to pay rent, groceries and bills and was in debt.”

Mrs Waller said Prajapati intended using the items for parts, but his financial situation improved, which was why all but one of the items were in his possession when police searched the property.

Judge Russell Walker said Prajapati told police he was remorseful, under a lot of stress, not in a good headspace and struggling financially.

A presentence report writer noted while he was on the wage subsidy he had been struggling to pay bills and keep up with repayments on an expensive car he had purchased pre-Covid.

Judge Walker said Prajapati had not told his family in India about his offending because he did not want to bother them.

It was likely there was “also a degree of shame” involved, she said.

A victim impact statement showed his former employers and colleagues felt let down and disappointed their trust had been breached, and his actions had undermined the trust the public had in NZ Post.

Prajapati was sentenced to 75 hours’ community work, nine months’ supervision and ordered to pay $2849 reparation.

—  COURT REPORTER

 



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