Wellington (DPA) -- A New Zealand man appeared in a Wellington
court Wednesday, charged with stealing more than 800 medals while
working at the National Army Museum.
Keith John Davies, 57, was remanded on bail until September 22
on 18 charges of taking 843 medals from 1995 to 2002 and
unlawfully exporting New Zealand antiquities.
Police said Davies, who lives in Queensland, was arrested
after flying into Wellington airport Wednesday. They said he
returned voluntarily from Australia after a joint, year-long
investigation by police from both countries.
Three hundred medals were recovered after a search of Davies'
home in Queensland.
The deputy chief of the army, Brigadier Charles Lott, told
Radio New Zealand, "These medals represent people's courage and
gallantry, certainly their commitment to the country.
"The fact that they have gone missing devastates us as the
custodians of New Zealand's national treasures, and I guess it
will upset New Zealanders as well," he said.
Police said the case was separate from a smash and grab at the
museum in the central North Island town of Waiouru in December
2007 when 96 war medals, including nine Victoria Crosses, were
stolen. Two men are serving prison sentences for that raid.