Ethan Richard James Williams' dream run, in which he appears to have modelled a life on Leonardo DiCaprio's depiction of conman Frank Abagnale Jr in the movie Catch Me If You Can, ended after he was caught in New Plymouth in June.


The 18-year-old was sentenced in the Nelson District Court this afternoon when Judge Richard Russell said there was nothing smart or clever about what Williams had done. He was simply "cunning, manipulative and plain dishonest'' and his offending had hurt his victims.


Williams, who appeared well-groomed and passive in the dock, had earlier admitted 30 charges including burglary, dishonesty, using a document, theft, obtaining by deception, trespass, computer crime, breach of community work and driving while prohibited.


He admitted a fresh charge this afternoon related to the non payment of almost $1000 worth of stationery from a Nelson store through which he had set up an account, taken goods and not paid for them.


Williams' offending, which dates back several years and has resulted in earlier youth court appearances, picked up pace in June this year when he broke into the Nelson Pilot Training building at Nelson Airport where he had previously been taking flying lessons before being trespassed off the site, and took aviation equipment and a chequebook.


He then took a taxi to Picton and a ferry to Wellington, using cheques stolen from the pilot training school, and checked into backpacker accommodation. While there he obtained a tourist's credit card details and bought a pilot's shirt and other items online, and then used a cheque from the pilot school to buy an almost $17,000 BMW 4X4 vehicle.


He then bought CAA flight manuals and navigation charts from the Airways Corporation before driving the BMW to New Plymouth where he checked himself and four fabricated friends into backpacker accommodation, and ordered a pizza using the stolen credit card details.


He was arrested by police in New Plymouth while eating pizza and wearing his pilot's uniform.


Williams' explanation for the offending that led to his arrest was wanting to flee a situation where he had broken up with his girlfriend, which left him feeling stressed and abandoned.


He was also ordered to pay reparation of almost $5000.




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