Sep. 17, 2011: A man dressed in a fake pilot's uniform tried to gain access to a secure part of New Zealand's Auckland Airport. The unidentified man, who was wearing a white shirt, blue trousers, shoulder epaulets with gold bands and a dark cap with a silver winged badge, and, was carrying a large black briefcase, attempted to gain entry to a restricted part of the airport, but was denied access. The imposter, who was unshaven and had large arm tattoos, left the terminal when challenged by security and was seen driving away in a black van with tinted windows at around 2:30 p.m.
Further investigation into the incident revealed that it was an elaborate made-for-TV stunt gone wrong. The fake pilot was identified as comedy/reality show Wanna-Ben co-star Bryce Casey. The show is about an unemployed man named Ben who tries to find exciting work and meets famous people in the process.
Monday police announced that they were charging three suspects in connection with the airport incident: Wanna-Ben star Benjamin Boyce, 33, co-star Bryce Casey, 32, and disc jockey Andrew Robinson, 26. The three are being charged under New Zealand's Civil Aviation Act for lying to a New Zealand employee in an attempt to gain entry to a secure area. If convicted, they could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $8,300.
The stunt, which took place during the Rugby World Cup as New Zealand hosts an estimated 100,000 visitors, was roundly condemned. Prime Minister John Key told reporters, "Look, I don't know all of the details, but if it's a stunt, then I think it's irresponsible from a bunch of clowns who should know better." Wanna-Ben star Ben Boyce apologized saying that the show's fans would probably be OK with the misplaced attempt at humor, but added, "Mum might be disappointed but then again I think she lost some respect for me years ago."