Not far from where I live there is a little fishing village called Ngawi (pronounced “naa-wee”). It’s a place described by its locals as a little piece of utopia. Somewhere you leave “for three days … and leave things unlocked and leave the keys in the vehicles”. No one goes to Ngawi to rob anything. Mostly.
Back in September 2006 local resident Garth Gadsby (later dubbed the Sheriff of Ngawi) was woken at 2.40am by "a car going at excessive speed". He later gave evidence that he called two mates and set up a roadblock across the only road in and out of the village. They set up the roadblock near Gadsby's tractor, a pink one called Babe that he uses to launch his fishing boat.
According to Gadsby he "stepped forward of [their parked] truck and held the shotgun up to stop the vehicle and they made no attempt to stop and slow down". Well funny that. The car turned around and sped back into Ngawi.
Gadsby got into his mate’s truck (a yellow ute) and they gave chase. Allegedly he was literally "riding shotgun" in the front of the truck driven by his mate, leaning out the window and firing at the tyres of the car they were chasing.
By the way, Gadsby is a keen skeet and claybird shooter who has shot more than 100 claybirds consecutively and has represented New Zealand. He said he had fired from a moving vehicle "hundreds of times".
The car was later found to contain stolen clothing and other items, and had shotgun pellet damage to the bumper, mudflap, left tyres and left side of the vehicle. One of the tyres was flat.
The occupants of the car managed to evade the truck. Hid the car out of sight in a garage and took shelter in an empty house. Suddenly they spotted the yellow ute outside. They fled out a back window and hid under another house until morning.
By the time South Wairarapa Constable Bruce Farley arrived to take the burglars into custody there were about 20 angry residents gathered and there was a lot of shouting between them and the burglars.
I imagine the burglars themselves looked relieved to see the police. One is reported as saying "I wasn't too happy I got caught but I'm glad it was them (the police) that caught us".
At least one of them had tried to escape on foot into the hills. Ngawi locals allegedly scaled the hills above them and rolled boulders down on to them.
The young burglars were later jailed after they admitted a raft of offences, including the burgling and vandalising of houses in the South Wairarapa township in a crime spree leading up to the events described above.
I don’t need to go out on too much of a limb here to observe that the burglars Brendan Taylor, Joshua Diamond, and Owen Guthrie are destined to be of no use to anyone. While waiting for trial they skipped bail and broke into more houses in the far North.
I’m a big one for the rule of law and all that. But part of me is tempted to suggest they should be sent back to Ngawi.