Blood on win­dow nabs brazen char­ity thief

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS ETHERIDGE

A thief who stole from a char­ity’s of­fice twice was tracked down us­ing blood he left on a smashed win­dow.

A man is due to ap­pear in Hamil­ton Dis­trict Court on Fe­bru­ary 17.

The thefts took place in May and June last year. The man plead guilty to bur­glary, Auck­land City po­lice de­tec­tive Ewen Set­tle says.

The tar­get was the of­fice of the Auck­land Fes­ti­val of Photography in Par­nell. Lap­tops worth more than $8000 were stolen in one of the in­ci­dents.

Staff ar­rived on the Mon­day morn­ing af­ter the first bur­glary in May to find a win­dow al­most three me­tres above ground level was bro­ken.

Fes­ti­val founder Ju­lia Durkin says af­ter the first bur­glary the of­fice was tar­geted again – the theft hap­pened mid­way through the an­nual photography fes­ti­val. Large and ex­pen­sive Ap­ple com­put­ers, video cam­eras, tapes and lap­tops that were on loan to or­gan­is­ers were among the items taken, she says.

Blood left on a win­dow al­lowed po­lice to use DNA ev­i­dence to track and iden­tify the of­fender.

See­ing some­one held re­spon­si­ble is a re­lief, Durkin says.

Monthly in­sur­ance pay­ments to cover the fes­ti­val’s equip­ment have gone up by about $1000 and the costs are dif­fi­cult to keep up with, she says.

The of­fice is now alarmed ev­ery day and the win­dows have ex­tra se­cu­rity on them.

Or­gan­is­ers are pre­par­ing for this year’s fes­ti­val which starts on May 28.

‘‘Last year was a fan­tas­tic fes­ti­val but it was just slightly tainted by th­ese two bur­glar­ies,’’ Durkin says.

The fes­ti­val, now into its 11th year, will have more than 90 ex­hi­bi­tions and events on its pro­gramme for Auck­lan­ders to en­joy.

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Start­ing over: Auck­land Fes­ti­val of Photography founder Ju­lia Durkin in the char­ity’s of­fice which was burgled twice last year. The empty boxes rep­re­sent more than $8000 of equip­ment that was taken.

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