Courier driver stole Apple products from New Zealand Post deliveries
Kaushal Dilipbhai Prajapati was a relief driver for NZ Post when he took the Apple items, intending to sell them as parts. Photo / Provided, File
A former New Zealand Post relief driver who stole Apple products, intending to use them for spare parts to relieve financial stress, was sentenced to community service and a oversight by Queenstown District Court.
Indian national Kaushal Dilipbhai Prajapati, 23, a courier, from Frankton, admitted four counts of theft by someone with a special relationship, between July 14 and July 22 last year.
Prajapati helped himself to an Apple Homepod Mini, Apple i-Pad, Apple Macbook laptop and Apple Pen after they were accepted by New Zealand Post for delivery in Queenstown.
His former employer spent more than 60 working hours sifting through CCTV footage to uncover the crimes.
All but the $2,849 Macbook laptop were recovered when police executed a search warrant at Prajapati’s home address on October 27 last year.
Defense attorney Megan Waller said Prajapati felt deep remorse for his actions and for destroying his employer’s trust in him.
He had been employed by NZ Post for around two years and during the first lockdown he 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 compelled to provide financial support, as he was the eldest son,” Waller said.
“At that time, he could barely afford rent, groceries and bills and was in debt.”
Waller said Prajapati intended to use the items for parts, but his financial situation improved, which is 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, very stressed, not in good spirits and in financial difficulty.
A writer for the pre-sentence report noted that Prajapati was on the wage subsidy but struggled to pay bills and keep up with reimbursements for an expensive car he bought before Covid.
Judge Walker said Prajapati did not inform his family in India of his offense because he did not want to disturb them.
It was likely that there was “a degree of shame as well,” she said.
A victim impact statement showed his former employers and colleagues felt disappointed and disappointed that their trust had been shattered, and that his actions had undermined public trust in NZ Post.
Prajapati was sentenced to 75 hours of community service, nine months of supervision and ordered to pay $2,849 in damages.