Hmmm, he does look familiarSkip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Somewhere in Auckland, New Zealand, there's a man who may be trying hard to grow a moustache and full beard. And perhaps dyeing his hair a different color as well. But not because he has landed a role in a forthcoming play. Instead, there's a $500 (US $275) reward, advertised on billboards around the city, for information leading to his arrest. The offer appears next to a photo of the suspect in the act of helping himself to valuable transformers that fed electricity to illuminate, yes, a billboard after dark. The theft dates back to a bright Sunday in October, and the suspect apparently didn't realize he was being photographed by an onlooker whose suspicions he'd aroused. What's more, the shutterbug didn't stop there. He also went to the trouble of tracking down the operator of OTW Advertising Ltd., whose billboard now was unlit, and sharing his pictures. Not surprisingly, Mark Venter, who runs the company, turned some of his own billboards into wanted posters, complete with a phone number for the public to call with tips. "It was," he told reporters, "too good an opportunity to let go." The chosen photo was taken from medium range and slightly behind the suspect, so there's only a partial view of his face. At least it's in sharp focus, though, and the response has been enthusiastic, giving Auckland police several leads to pursue. At last report, the suspect was still at large. But then he's clever, Venter said – enough so that he knew not to swipe the transformers after dark, when electricity was flowing through them to the lamps that once flooded the billboard with light.