Stolen stock not PC but very rare

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SI­MON SMITH

Thieves have made off with $12,000 of ele­phant trap­pings – in­clud­ing a foot and an 80cm tusk.

The An­tique Shop owner Ted Wa­ters ad­mits such items are not to ev­ery­one’s taste but they were legally ac­quired and cer­ti­fied.

‘‘As soon as you men­tion an ele­phant’s foot I’m not go­ing to get a lot of sup­port on this stuff,’’ the How­ick res­i­dent says.

‘‘But again it’s an­tique. Th­ese were over 100 years old. Shops like ours will have stock that you are just not go­ing to see in The Ware­house and that’s the beauty of them.’’

Mr Wa­ters says his smart­phone alerted him to the break-in at his How­ick shop at 3.31am on July 24, and he rushed down to the store.

‘‘When I got there I could see that the front door had been smashed in and a bit of stock spewed out on the foot­path.’’

Mr Wa­ters says it looks like a stolen-to-or­der job.

‘‘Just in the past cou­ple of weeks we’ve had a lot of in­ter­est in those pieces and we’ve had them for a while.’’

The stolen an­tiques in­clude a $1295 ele­phant foot and the most valu­able item that could not be locked in a safe – an $8800 ele­phant tusk.

‘‘It was the sole piece that was of high value. It was al­ways the most riski­est of the pieces.’’

Other ele­phant ivory was also taken and in­cludes a carved lion-headed para­sol han­dle, two carved African heads and a num­ber of African fig­urines. The items will not be easy to re­place.

‘‘For most re­tail busi­nesses it’s not a prob­lem as they just or­der more from the ware­house but for us it takes years to build up.’’

Sergeant Jane Field says the thieves smashed a win- dow and ran di­rectly to a cabi­net be­hind the counter.

A mem­ber of the pub­lic saw two peo­ple run from the shop shortly af­ter­wards and get into a car where a third per­son was wait­ing.

The car of in­ter­est is a sil­ver or grey Honda Civic with black tinted win­dows and black deep dish mags and Ms Field wants any­body who can iden­tify it to come for­ward.

Po­lice are analysing CCTV footage from the an­tique shop as well as pic­tures from the How­ick Vil­lage sur­veil­lance cam­eras.

Mr Wa­ters says his stock is not in­sured be­cause the pre­mi­ums cost too much.

‘‘And the rig­ma­role that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies put you through – I learnt a while ago that you pretty much have to in­sure your­self.’’

The shop was also bur­gled in De­cem­ber and shoplift­ing is be­com­ing an in­creas­ing prob­lem.

‘‘I should have bol­stered things up more af­ter the last time they busted through the front door, so now we are go­ing to have to put steel in there which isn’t a great look, but you just have to do it.’’

Mr Wa­ters says he also trades mam­moth ivory.

‘‘Per­son­ally if we get the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase mam­moth ivory above ele­phant we take it be­cause it’s so dif­fi­cult to ob­tain the right cer­tifi­cates and do it by the book.’’

All of his ivory is ac­quired legally with the re­quired cer­tifi­cates.

‘‘Not that some of the cus­tomers even care, but we do.’’

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion web­site says a per­mit is re­quired to im­port ele­phant ivory since New Zealand signed up to the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna in 1989.

Photo: SI­MON SMITH

Bur­gled: The An­tique Shop owner Ted Wa­ters with two ivory African fig­urines sim­i­lar to those taken from his How­ick shop.

Ex­pen­sive item: The stolen tusk.

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