Cig­gie gangs share tips on in­ter­net

Piako Post - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PHILLIPA YALDEN

Cells of young rob­bers are shar­ing in­tel on so­cial me­dia to pull off copy­cat crimes.

Po­lice believe the re­cent rob­beries and smas­hand-grabs plagu­ing Waikato busi­nesses is be­ing done by groups op­er­at­ing in­di­vid­u­ally but known to each other through friends or as­so­ci­ates.

They share their tech­niques via so­cial me­dia mes­sages or word of mouth, which has led to sim­i­lar crimes com­mit­ted by dif­fer­ent groups, Waikato po­lice Act­ing De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Dean An­der­son said.

‘‘Be­tween some of the groups, we are find­ing def­i­nite as­so­ci­a­tions through fam­ily and known as­so­ci­ates, so we do believe there is a trans­fer of in­for­ma­tion be­tween some groups on the meth­ods of of­fend­ing.

‘‘We’re con­fi­dent they are shar­ing their knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences.’’

Po­lice fig­ures show ag­gra­vated rob­beries and bur­glar­ies on small and com­mer­cial busi­nesses have sky­rock­eted since Au­gust.

These fig­ures only in­clude crimes tal­lied un­der Oper­a­tion Chronos - a name given to the Waikato po­lice oper­a­tion in­ves­ti­gat­ing rob­beries and bur­glar­ies po­lice believe are linked.

Al­most all of those 30 in­volved dairies and ser­vice sta­tions and cig­a­rettes were the tar­get.

Ev­i­dence showed some of the stolen cig­a­rettes were be­ing sold on Face­book pages, he said. Other stolen goods end up with mem­bers of the wider group.

A to­tal of 18 peo­ple have been ar­rested and some face charges for mul­ti­ple of­fences. Four­teen of the crimes have pros­e­cu­tions pend­ing.

This in­cludes the four peo­ple aged 17, 18, 21 and 22 who were ar­rested af­ter al­legedly smash­ing their way into the Z ser­vice sta­tion in Mor­rinsville on Fri­day morn­ing and flee­ing in a stolen car with cig­a­rettes. They were ar­rested in Bader af­ter a po­lice pur­suit.

Of the rob­beries that oc­curred in the Waikato be­tween April 1 and Septem­ber this year, 68 per cent were done by of­fend­ers un­der 18. The youngest was 12.

‘‘It’s a fairly nasty fig­ure and re­flec­tive of youth of­fend­ing,’’ An­der­son said.

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