The man and his shoe attacks were captured on security cameras. Photo/New Zealand Police
A man who stalked and assaulted three women before stealing their shoes has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service.
The 22-year-old’s name and identity are being withdrawn pending an appeal from his lawyer.
Sentencing the man this afternoon, Judge Keith de Ritter said it was a repeated and deliberate offense by a man who targeted vulnerable young women on his way to the return.
“You did track them down, you waited,” the judge told the Auckland District Court, “used disguises to hide your identity and persisted to the point of using force to get their shoes.”
He first committed an offense in September 2020, standing at the entrance to his victim’s apartment and following her inside, wearing a scarf over her face.
He got into the elevator with her and said, “I like your feet, I really like your feet,” the court heard.
He then fell to his knees, wrapped his arms around her legs, and tried to take her shoes off.
She ripped off his face mask and he fled the building with his two shoes.
Nine months later, he struck again in very similar circumstances, this time on two victims in one day.
Prosecutors said the attacks were violent and traumatic for the women who were attacked in their homes.
His lawyer Joon Yi told the court that the young man naively chose to steal the shoes near the women’s houses because he didn’t want them walking around without shoes for a long time.
The offense took place during three days in lockdown, Yi said, when the youngster was isolated in Auckland, stuck in a university dormitory listening to lectures every day without any support.
The young migrant, whose entire family is abroad, realized he had a shoe fetish when he was 10 years old.
Yi said he was able to handle it relatively well before the offense, buying second-hand shoes online and devoting time to his hobbies, exercise and photography.
But the lockdown and internet porn prompted him to go out and steal shoes, showcasing his fetish.
Yi pleaded for release without conviction and the permanent deletion of the man’s name, saying the consequences of a conviction and publication would be disproportionate to the seriousness of his offence.
Ritter’s judge denied both, saying his offense was serious, though mitigated by his first guilty plea, letters of apology, and reparations payments of $3,000 each to victims.
He also volunteered 190 hours with the Salvation Army.
The judge sentenced him to 200 hours of community service and 12 months of supervision.
The case first came to light on Police Ten 7 show in August last year when police called on the public for help in identifying the man before he struck again.
In security footage shown on the show, the man could be seen following a young woman into a building in central Auckland in June 2021.
He took the same elevator with her, followed her as she exited, then tackled her to the floor and took off one of her shoes.
Hearing his screams, other residents rushed to his aid and the young man ran down a hallway.
He was confronted by another resident before returning the shoe and leaving the building.
Moments later, the man carried out a second, nearly identical attack on another nearby victim, also captured on CCTV.
This time he looked directly at a security camera before attacking the woman, stealing a shoe and then fleeing.