Po­lice warn to ‘lock it or lose it’

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

‘‘I imag­ine there will be a whole lot of thefts we don't even know about. Of­ten peo­ple don't re­alise un­til they have left the area.’’

A spate of thefts in Wa­haroa have po­lice warn­ing car and truck driv­ers to lock it or lose it.

Driv­ers who are leav­ing ve­hi­cle doors un­locked when they briefly stop in the town­ship are find­ing them­selves vic­tims of op­por­tunist thieves.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Po­lice pre­ven­tion sergeant Blair Hayde says truck driv­ers in par­tic­u­lar are be­ing tar­geted.

‘‘Trucks are easy be­cause they don’t get turned off, and then some­one is climb­ing in the other side and tak­ing what­ever per­sonal be­long­ings they can find.’’

How­ever, the in­ci­dents are not only con­fined to truck driv­ers. Hayde says thieves are look­ing for any­one stop­ping for a short visit, ex­it­ing their ve­hi­cle with­out lock­ing up.

He said one vic­tim was an el­derly truck driver who was dev­as­tated, as he was about to go on a long haul trip.

‘‘Some­one took his clothes and ev­ery­thing. It was a mas­sive in­con­ve­nience for him. It’s likely the of­fender didn’t even keep the prop­erty.

‘‘I imag­ine there will be a whole lot of thefts we don’t even know about. Of­ten peo­ple don’t re­alise un­til they have left the area.’’

Hayde says the Wa­haroa com­mu­nity is well aware of the prob­lem, and po­lice are seek­ing the lo­ca­tion of a sus­pect known to be in­volved in the thefts.

As a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure, po­lice, to­gether with the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil are are putting up signs, which will warn, ‘lock it or lose it’.

‘‘We are try­ing to get those mes­sages across not to leave your trucks un­locked, whether it’s a five minute stay or half an hour stay, lock your ve­hi­cle.

‘‘There are thieves in ac­tion out there.

‘‘They are not break­ing win­dows, they are just try­ing to open doors, so if the open doors aren’t there, the prob­lem would be solved,’’ says Hayde.

Coun­cil is fund­ing the signs, which will be in place at the public toi­lets and carpark in Wa­haroa.

Ac­tiv­ity is re­puted to have been go­ing on and off over a few years, but Hayde says it has in­creased in re­cent weeks.

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