Catch-a-thief bill­boards get big re­sponse

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A BUSI­NESS­MAN us­ing bill­boards to catch a thief says the re­sponse from the pub­lic has been “flab­ber­gast­ing”.

Bill­board com­pany owner Mark Ven­ter has put up four signs in the cen­tral city show­ing a photo of a man steal­ing roof-top trans­form­ers.

He says the over­whelm­ing re­ac­tion from the com­mu­nity and the me­dia in­ter­est sends a re­ally pow­er­ful mes­sage.

“This is an ex­am­ple of an in­di­vid­ual say­ing ‘I’ve had enough’,” he says.

The signs show a man crouch­ing on a rooftop as he steals 15 trans­form­ers for a neon sign on Karanga­hape Rd last month.

Mr Ven­ter is of­fer­ing a $500 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion.

He says he’s re­ceived al­most 100 calls in the last week and yes­ter­day was get­ting “very, very close” to catch­ing the cul­prit.

“We’re fi­nally get­ting the same name com­ing up all the time,” he says.

He says hav­ing such a clear photo of the thief was too good an op­por­tu­nity to miss, but doesn’t want to say how the of­fender was snapped.

“How many times do you get a photo of the crim­i­nal up close?” he says.

Mr Ven­ter says it’s frus­trat­ing that the trans­form­ers, worth about $5000, will prob­a­bly be sold as cop­per for as lit­tle as $200.

“Crime is pretty in­ef­fi­cient.”

He sus­pects the thief could have an elec­tri­cal back­ground.

Sergeant Roy Simp­son says the photo has been able to pro­vide ex­cel­lent ev­i­dence and it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore the thief is iden­ti­fied.

“This is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of how the com­mu­nity and po­lice can, and do, work to­gether to de­tect and re­solve crime,” he says.

The man in the pho­to­graph is wear­ing a grey cam­ou­flage top, black pants and an or­ange flouro vest with the words Spring Hill writ­ten on the back.

Any­one who knows who the man is or the where­abouts of the trans­form­ers should con­tact Mr Simp­son on 302-6483.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Caught on cam­era: A busi­ness owner has put up four bill­boards in search of this thief.

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