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Italian job foiled by speedy police swoop on ferry

Flagstaff Team

Reunited… Paul Cane with the bicycle returned to him after being stolen from
outside Devonport Optometrists and taken onto a city-bound ferry

A bike theft during a Devonport man’s visit to the optometrist led to drama on the high seas when the smartly dressed offender was collared on a Fullers ferry by maritime police.
As per his usual habit, Paul Cane left his unlocked bike leaning against a pole outside Devonport Optometrists in Victoria Rd while he was having his glasses adjusted.
But when he turned around to leave he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I think my bike’s been stolen,” he said, before charging up and down Victoria Rd looking for it.
He thought the thief might have headed for the 12.45pm ferry to escape, so ran down to the terminal. He was met by Devonport Optometrists assistant Kimberley Blake, who arrived at the wharf just before him and had seen the stolen bike on the back of the departing ferry.
She told a terminal security guard who informed the ferry skipper by radio. He in turn alerted Maritime Police Unit officers who were doing a training drill on the Deodar III nearby.
Though the ferry was halfway to Auckland, the skipper turned it around and returned to the Devonport terminal, where it was met by police from the Deodar III.
Women were able to exit the vessel but all men on board were told to stay put while police questioned them to find the culprit.
An Australian tourist who saw the thief board the boat with the bike identified the alleged offender, who was taken away by police apparently after a discussion with the man.
Cane said the help he received to recover his bike was “just marvellous”.
“Only in Devonport would you turn the ferry around because of a stolen bike,” he said.
He described the thief as a “well-dressed man in a suit jacket” with an Italian accent .
He thought it fitting to buy three bottles of Italian wine for Blake, the security guard and ferry captain to thank them for their efforts.
Following the December theft, Cane has invested in a lock to safeguard his bike during future rides to the village.
A 41-year-old man was charged with theft and first appeared in the North Shore District Court on 9 January. He is next due to appear in court on 19 March.

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