The brother of a New Zealand sports star has been charged with burglary in the Cook Islands, just days out from his planned wedding.
The 52-year-old, who has name suppression, was accused of stealing a safe from Mareko Island Creations in Avarua, Rarotonga last Saturday.
Access to the safe was gained by breaking louvre windows, with the safe being torn from its wall fittings before those involved made their getaway.
While Cook Islands police were unable to say how much money was in the safe at the time, shop takings, staff bonuses, family savings and passports were among the items inside.
Mareko’s owners reported the break-in on Tuesday.
The accused appeared in a court in Rarotonga on Saturday and was granted bail under a series of conditions.
The man was required to surrender his passport and to agree to remain in Rarotonga until his next court appearance in February 3.
One of the investigating officers said the maximum penalty for burglary in the Cook Islands was a 10-year jail term.
“It’s up to the court. If he was to be ‘trial by jury’ it would be closer to that 10 years, but if he [enters] an early plea, then the court will look at that as well,” the officer said.
It was understood this was the 52-year-old’s first brush with the law.
It was unclear whether the man’s looming nuptials, which were due to take place on another island, would take place.