Fake tradesmen burgling homes
Police and property owners are warning residents in eastern Porirua to be wary of thieves dressed as tradesmen coming to their doors or neighbouring vacant houses.
One property manager, who did not wish to be named and has more than 80 homes in the area, says the thieves have been particularly brazen in the past month.
‘‘I have a house on Hampshire [St] that’s empty and people came and caused a lot of damage taking copper and other fittings out of it,’’ he says.
‘‘I’ve been in the property game for 10 years but it hasn’t been as bad as this before.’’
Some residents have let ‘‘tradespeople’’ in their homes, who look legitimate, he says, but are really there to check out where valuables are.
‘‘Housing New Zealand are doing up a lot of properties, so there are plenty of electricians and painters out and about.
‘‘But people need to be careful, asking for ID or ringing their landlord if they’re not sure.
‘‘You have to be so careful these days – one lady in Hereford St was in the shower and her very young son let these guys in.’’
Detective Peter Middlemiss from Porirua police says they are investigating the incidents.
The price of copper is high, meaning vacant houses are being hit.
‘‘We’ve also heard of young people going to addresses, saying they’re looking for a dog, just so they can look into houses.’’
His advice is for residents to be more vigilant, ask for ID, be prepared to take photos of tradesmen – legitimate workmen should not object – and ‘‘get to know your neighbours’’.
‘‘Go and speak to the tradies if you’re not sure and if in real doubt, call the police.
‘‘The worst that can happen is we check it out and it proves to be a false alarm.’’
Mr Middlemiss says they will work with property managers to ensure residents are more aware.