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Tourists reunited with stolen bag, minus cash

Saturday 10 February 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime, National, Travel


Tourists reunited with stolen bag, minus cash
Chauvet Pierre and Ledroit Charlotte at their accommodation in Muri last month. The two friends were disappointed with their experience in Rarotonga after their travel documents and credits cards, including cash, were stolen during their day at the beach in Titikaveka. 24012601

French tourists’ stolen bag was found in a bush, missing only cash, with police investigating and Tourism Council urging vigilance and stronger security measures.

The bag of valuables belonging to French tourists that was stolen two weeks ago has been found.

Chauvet Pierre and Ledroit Charlotte were the victims of theft at Enuamanea Beach in Titikaveka late last month. They managed to find their bag themselves.

Police have labelled the brazen daylight incident as a disgraceful act of theft, where the visitors lost all their valuables, including cash, phones, cards, licenses, passports, and keys.

This week, Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council president and general manager of Muri Beach Club Hotel, Liana Scott confirmed that her guests’ bag was found in a bush on the Titikaveka back road.

Scott said everything was there except cash.

Also read: ‘We are hurt’: French visitors

She told Cook Islands News: “They ended up finding themselves on the back road in the bush. They found another bag in the same spot with important documents so handed this to the police.”

“They were relieved to find their phones as so many precious photos were on. Cash gone but everything else there.”

Scott said the recovered passports were of no use as new ones were already ordered.

She said they hoped the police would identify the location and perhaps set up a sting operation or use this as a point of reference for future investigations.

Scott also questioned whether the police could obtain fingerprints from other contents of the bag.

Cook Islands Police media officer Trevor Pitt said the French visitors did hand in a bag with items found.

Pitt had no update on the matter yesterday.

The pair earlier told Cook Islands that this was their first time in Rarotonga and “it could be the last”.

“I was sleeping with my book, so I saw nothing and heard nothing . . . we are hurt,” Charlotte said.

She said that a tourist would not have taken their belongings, but pleaded that whoever the culprit may be, to please return their documents.

“We are sad, this has never happened to us in New Zealand, I was sleeping with a book and he must have come from behind.”

In an earlier statement, Scott advised tourists to remain vigilant, as “holiday mode brain” can kick in and make guests complacent.

She called on accommodation providers to strengthen their own safety measures and controls.

“We all play a part!” Scott added.

She had also said the council was appalled to read and hear about reported burglaries, break-ins, and thefts and said people needed to work together and speak out if they saw or heard anything.