Sun, Jun 9, 2024 10:08 AM

Cleaner springs guests who booked Nelson motel to make fake money


Tracy Neal – Open Justice Reporter

A couple who spent a two-night stay in a Nelson motel making fake money were sprung by the cleaner who serviced the room and found screwed-up pieces of paper lying around that happened to be counterfeit banknotes.

They had checked in two days earlier to the beachside motel carrying a guillotine, printer and multiple laptop bags.

Thomas McCabe, 27, appearing in the Nelson District Court, has admitted two charges of using forged documents and possessing implements for banknotes, in addition to charges of burglary and unlawfully being in a yard.

The forgery counts stemmed from the change he was given when he twice bought goods using $100 counterfeit notes, before his partner, charged as a co-offender, booked the motel room in April this year.

The crime spree began in March this year when McCabe went to the Mitre 10 Mega Store in Nelson with an associate and took three packs of rechargeable batteries he put in his trousers pocket.

He then picked up some sandpaper while his associate found a store scanner, and handed it to McCabe who put the item in his jacket pocket.

When they were approached by store security, McCabe handed over the scanner, was verbally trespassed, and walked out of the store without paying for the batteries.

He told police he had “found” the scanner and intended to hand it over at the checkout but admitted to stealing the batteries.

Three days later, McCabe was in the Repco store in Motueka when he took a $264 set of LED headlights which he stuffed down the front of his jeans while pretending to adjust his waistband, then walked out of the store with his teeshirt pulled down over his jeans.

Thomas McCabe has admitted charges in the Nelson District Court including those linked to him making fake money. Photo / Tracy Neal

He later told police what he had done, and that he had put the headlights on his vehicle which he had since sold.

Then, in the early hours of April 7 this year, McCabe was caught on CCTV arriving in his partner’s vehicle at the Moutere Hills Community Centre in Tasman, where he walked around the property and took various items before leaving.

On April 18, he went to the Tasman General Store and selected $25.40 worth of goods, which he paid for with a fake $100 note. He was given $74.60 in change and left the store.

It wasn’t until the store owner did the banking later that day that he learned the note was counterfeit.

On the same morning, McCabe went to an electrical goods store in Motueka, walked around and then asked the shop assistant for a $69.99 Bluetooth audio device from inside a locked cabinet.

He paid for it using another counterfeit $100 note and was given $30 change.

Two days later, McCabe’s partner booked the motel room and the couple checked in later that morning.

The police summary of facts said that over the next two nights, they used the guillotine, printer and laptop to manufacture counterfeit banknotes.

When they checked out on April 22, the cleaner found bunches of screwed-up papers, opened them and found printed $20 counterfeit notes.

She also found bits of shredded paper that looked to be the colour of $50 bank notes, police said.

On the morning of May 3, McCabe was seen on CCTV entering a yard in Motueka on his scooter, pulling up to the front door of the premises, from where he uplifted a courier parcel and left.

A few days later he was arrested after the police searched his home and found a printer with a bank note sizing template in the kitchen plus two counterfeit $50 notes.

McCabe was convicted on all charges and is to be sentenced in September.

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