A man accused of posing as a Pike River mine worker and stealing from a North Otago family has appeared in the Timaru District Court charged with the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.
Police say the man, who also claimed his brother-in-law had been killed in November's disaster, was hitchhiking on Christmas Eve was picked up by the family from Tokarahi, near Oamaru.
He stayed with them for two days, and is then alleged to have taken their car, and more than $2000 in cash and cheques.
Constable Craig Bennett of the Kurow police says the family were distraught and deeply hurt.
Mr Bennett says the man has been remanded in custody and will appear in the Christchurch District Court on 28 January. He says more charges are likely.