Viber Tree helps in ar­rest

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STEPH RANGI

Two thieves got more than they bar­gained for in Tu­rangi - a group of res­i­dents armed with mo­bile phones.

The Viber Tree was started by Tu­rangi a neigh­bour­hood two years ago to help keep an eye on each other’s prop­erty and it proved valu­able just last week.

Two Tu­rangi teens were seen walk­ing the River Track be­fore jump­ing the back fence of a prop­erty. Tu­rangi Po­lice se­nior sergeant Tere Morunga said the pair gained ac­cess inside, but set off the alarm, so they made a run for it.

A se­ries of quick fire texts on the Viber Tree al­lowed neigh­bours to track the teens’ move­ments and pass the in­for­ma­tion on to po­lice.

‘‘The first re­sponse was from the neigh­bours and they came to­gether and worked as one,’’ Morunga, said.

Res­i­dents walked up the River Track with one of the con­sta­bles while an­other cou­ple were strate­gi­cally placed along the town side of the river.

‘‘With the lim­ited re­sources I had – two of­fi­cers – it was a good re­sult in the end,’’ Morunga said.

The boys were found at the end of the River Track and were later ar­rested for bur­glary and re­ferred to Youth Aid.

‘‘It was amaz­ing how many mem­bers of the com­mu­nity turned up to help. It was a re­ally good re­sult.’’

Morunga hopes this event shows that the Viber Tree does work and he hopes other res­i­den­tial groups adopt it.

Don’t hes­i­tate to call 111 or 0800 Crimestop­pers if you see any­thing sus­pi­cious.

‘‘It was amaz­ing how many turned up to help.’’

STEPH RANGI/STUFF

Tu­rangi Po­lice and Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port rec­om­mended the res­i­dent Viber Tree set up by Eric Wilson (far right) and his neigh­bours.

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