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English pensioner runs up $1,591 cab fare in New Zealand

April 25, 1997

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ A British tourist ran up a $1,591 cab fare, traveling the length of New Zealand’s North Island, without the money to pay for it.

Ian Lalor-Smith, 64, raised his hands and yelled ``Thank you Lord″ in court Thursday after a judge acquitted him of the fraud charge.

The former British army captain called a taxi to his Auckland hotel on April 12 and asked the driver to take him to Taupo, 130 miles to the southeast.

At Taupo, Lalor-Smith told the driver he did not have a fixed destination and asked him to keep driving south. The driver started to worry after reaching the southern tip of North Island, 280 miles away, and turned back.

The court was told that Lalor-Smith did not have enough money to pay for the ride. He has repaid $491 to the cab driver; it is not clear whether he will be required to pay the rest.

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