Burglary link to councillor misguided
A widely-circulated email linking the unnamed family of an elected official to goods from a Titahi Bay burglary has been discredited by police and labelled a ‘‘ smear campaign’’ by one city councillor.
On February 27 an email titled ‘Titahi Bay Crime Alert’ was sent to 250 people on the Titahi Bay Residents’ Association list, including local media, from the personal email address of TBRA chairman Graeme Ebbett.
It warned residents of daylight burglaries in the suburb by groups of youths, but also claimed a stolen laptop with a tracking device had been traced to the home of a Porirua city councillor. Though not named, the elected official was identifiable.
The councillor targeted in the email has referred all questions to Detective Sergeant Brent Clark from Porirua CIB, who confirmed there was an ongoing investigation but neither the city councillor nor their family were suspected of any criminal activity.
‘‘They are an innocent party and have been very co-operative with us,’’ said Mr Clark.
He was concerned information from the case had been distributed to the community but was adamant it had not come from police staff. He said it was disappointing Mr Ebbett had emailed the information as it could jeopardise an ongoing enquiry.
Titahi Bay community constable Hemi Tito told Kapi-Mana News there had been ‘‘ one or two’’ burglaries in the suburb recently, but nothing at the level portrayed in the email.
Mr Ebbett said he did not regret sending the message, claiming everything he wrote had been verified. He said he had received the information from the lap- top’s owner and ‘‘these are the facts that I’ve been told, let’s let people make their own minds up about it all.
‘‘These things [daytime burglaries] are happening in our community, people need to know.’’
Western ward councillor ’ Ana Coffey deplored Mr Ebbett’s actions. She said it was one thing to encourage personal security but another to create unnecessary fear and attack someone in such a manner.
‘‘ I’m embarrassed that our residents’ association has been involved in what appears to be a smear campaign against an individual.’’
Mr Ebbett rubbished any suggestion his motives were personal or political.