Armed robber disguised himself as a Sikh
A robber who several times disguised himself with a beard and a red turban to give the impression that he belonged to the Sikh community has been jailed for 11 years in New Zealand.
At Manukau District Court in South Auckland, Judge Dr Ajit Swaran Singh found Moenaia Toleafoa guilty on four counts of aggravated robbery at banks and retail stores and one count of demanding money with menaces.
Moenaia told the court that he committed the crimes – between December 2006 and December 2008 – for money to feed a gambling addiction.
Typically, he approached cash counters with a threatening note saying he was armed.
On one day in October 2007 he committed three offences in two hours disguised in turban, fake beard and sunglasses, carrying a concealed pistol.
But in May 2008 he was armed with a sawn-off shotgun, wearing sunglasses, a black wig and a beanie hat.
Toleafoa expressed remorse but Judge Dr Singh said that the community had to be protected and other people deterred from such offences.
The robberies in disguise of two banks and a bar in October 2007 prompted a flood of phone calls from outraged members of New Zealand’s 20,000 strong Sikh community.
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