Police warn to ‘lock it or lose it’
‘‘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.