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Fifth burglary ‘disheartening’

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

After four weeks without a break-in, Tripoli bistro owner Marlon Tortoza, thought he may have been in the clear as the new year rolled on.

Instead he was left “disheartened” yesterday morning after a phone call from police delivering the news of yet another break-in – the bistro’s fifth burglary in six months.

The saga continues after neighbouring Kuripuni restaurant, Curry Twist, was broken into twice in the past two weeks, with the burglar taking money and alcohol.

Mr Tortoza is now hoping meetings with police and the council can lead to better security and enforcement in the area.

“It’s not just petty crime anymore,” Mr Tortoza said.

“He’s a serial burglar and costing me a lot of money, and my landlord a lot of money.”

The burglar, who Mr Tortoza says is the same each time, on this occasion made off with cash, booze and a sweet treat.

“He took the till inner with the float in it with about $280 cash, three bottles of spirits and a bottle of salted caramel syrup – which is a bit bizarre.

“And now this guy is running free on the street, living the dream.”

Sergeant Ian Osland said a street sweeper discovered the break-in and reported it to police at about 4am yesterday.

CCTV footage of the break-in had been reviewed and was added to the investigation into the previous four burglaries at the restaurant.

Masterton police “have some good lines of inquiry that are being followed up on,” Mr Osland said.

“He [Mr Tortoza] is providing us with nominations, so we have got to either negate or prove [the suspected offender],” he said.

Mr Tortoza approached both Masterton police and Masterton District Council yesterday morning to seek help in preventing further Kuripuni businesses being targeted.

“The police are trying to work out a pattern. They have a suspect name but they can’t do anything with that as there isn’t enough hard evidence, so hopefully they will go from there,” he said.

Police had told him that the next step was to upgrade his own security within the restaurant, and to help minimalise his chances of being a target.

Mr Tortoza requested to the council that a security camera be installed in the public carpark behind his restaurant.

“If we put a camera there it will stop a lot of riff-raff hanging around the back.”

He was told this could be done, funded by the council, but police, council and neighbouring businesses would have to agree first, he said.

He was also told a current inactive security camera in the area would be fixed soon.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said that while individual businesses installed their own security systems, the council had been proactive in investing in surveillance cameras that were intended to ensure the CBD was safe for residents and visitors.

“This has been a significant investment for ratepayers and council officers meet regularly with the police and take their advice on the ideal placement of these cameras.

“Any burglaries are unacceptable and this is an issue for the whole community to solve, as there are people living amongst us who know who’s committing these crimes.”

The council would support police in their efforts to fight crime and was happy to meet with police, the Masterton Community Patrol, Neighbourhood Support, business owners and council officers over the issue, Mrs Patterson said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Residential and rural properties alike get burgled frequently, with a higher dollar value involved, yet we dont blame the council, nor the police. Whilst i can understand the business owners frustration, i think its about time that they start paying for their own security and monitoring. The police are not their free private security service

  2. Shops in Waiuku who have been victims now post their CCTV footage of the culprits on Face Book. Name and shame them all.

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