Cam­pers’ brake lines cut: ‘They could’ve killed us’

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - — Gis­borne Her­ald

HWatch the video at nzher­ald.co.nz Young free­dom cam­pers vis­it­ing Gis­borne from Ger­many fear they could have been killed af­ter some­one cut the brake lines on their three vans.

Stephan Krog­man, 19, said they had been at Mako­rori Beach, just north of Gis­borne, for about an hour and a half on Sun­day af­ter­noon when they de­cided to go to the laun­dro­mat.

“When I went to drive off, my foot on the brake pedal went straight to the floor.”

He im­me­di­ately pulled on the hand­brake to stop the van.

“We had a look un­der­neath and saw the cut in the brake line, but thought at first it might have been some sort of me­chan­i­cal is­sue.”

The group stayed at the beach overnight. But yes­ter­day they found brake fluid on the ground un­der the other two vans and found cuts on those brake lines as well.

“This is a re­ally bad thing for some­one to have done,” Krog­man said.

“For some­one to do this for no rea­son . . . we can­not ex­plain it or un­der­stand it.

“They could have killed us.”

David Pion­tkowski, 20, said they were mys­ti­fied about it.

“Some peo­ple who don’t know us want to hurt us this bad. Why?

“Every­one has been so friendly to us since we have been in New Zealand. There is no rea­son we can think of for this to hap­pen.”

Birte Grutz­macher, 19, said they felt scared.

“We have had no trouble with any­one. We do not know why any­one would want to do this.”

The po­lice said the in­ci­dent in­volved a Toy­ota Hilux van, a Nis­san Largo peo­ple mover and a Toy­ota van and hap­pened some time be­tween 3pm and 4pm.

“We want to hear from any­one who was in the carpark at the bot­tom of Mako­rori Hill, or who was driv­ing by and saw any­thing sus­pi­cious,” said De­tec­tive Sergeant Kevin Ford.

The tourists’ three ve­hi­cles were in the carpark at the south­ern end of the pop­u­lar surf beach.

“This was ob­vi­ously a very dan­ger­ous thing to do.”

Ford said there must have been some “dis­af­fected” per­son out there who took ex­cep­tion to the pres­ence of free­dom cam­pers.

“He or she would have had to climb un­der the three ve­hi­cles to cut the brake lines.

“Whoever has done this needs their head read be­cause the po­ten­tial for harm to peo­ple in those ve­hi­cles and other road users was very high,” he said.

“This is ab­so­lutely block­head be­hav­iour and we want to catch up with whoever did it.”

Pic­ture / Gis­borne Her­ald

Stephan Krog­man (left), Birte Grutz­macher, Jan As­mus, Is­abella Mayer and David Pion­tkowski say every­one they have met in New Zealand so far has been re­ally friendly and they can’t imag­ine why any­one would want to hurt them.

Rachel Hunter shows her sup­port for the Tuku Iho ex­hi­bi­tion in Cal­i­for­nia.

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