Bur­glary link to coun­cil­lor mis­guided

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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