25 Aug 2015

Yacht thief aimed for SA but ended up behind bars

12:29 pm on 25 August 2015

A man who stole a small yacht in Motueka and planned to sail it to South Africa is instead behind bars, waiting to be sentenced.

Reginald Anthony Pitout, a Motueka farm worker, had his plans dashed after he was caught last month breaking into a bach in Squally Cove, Okiwi Bay in the Marlborough Sounds.

He admitted charges of theft and burglary in the Blenheim District Court yesterday via audio visual link from Christchurch where he is in custody, pending sentence next month.

Police said the events were triggered by Pitout, who had also stolen from his employer, becoming "fed up" and wanting to go back to South Africa.

A police summary of facts showed Pitout stole the yacht Dreamer from Port Motueka, having sailed a smaller yacht there which he had stolen from Nelson.

While sailing back across Tasman Bay with his dog on board, he took shelter from the weather inside Okiwi Bay.

Pitout anchored and rowed ashore with his dog, and found what he thought was an unoccupied bach in Squally Cove.

Police said he made himself at home and gathered food and supplies for the trip to South Africa. The property owner returned as Pitout was trying to steal a vehicle from the property.

He ran away with his dog, and was found by police not far from the property. Pitout is due to be sentenced on 14 September.