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One-man burglary spree halted

PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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Police say a burglary spike in the region is trending downwards after an arrest.

Detective Senior Sergeant Haley Ryan said a man was apprehended and taken into custody on burglary charges.

“There was a spike,” she said. “But we’ve seen a drop in the number of burglaries since he was arrested.”

The man was found committing a burglary and later admitted to several others across the lower North Island.

Ryan described the man as an “opportunistic” thief, and said it was a good reminder for people to look at their security measures at home.

“Make sure your doors are locked if you’re going out, even if it’s just to the back of the garden.”

She also encouraged people to record serial numbers and distinguishing features of valuable items, particularly electronics, to aid police in returning stolen property.

A Carterton woman, who had her home broken into less than two weeks ago, said it was the first time she and her husband had been burgled in 53 years of married life.

Heather, whose last name the Times-Age has agreed not to publish, said they returned home in the afternoon to find that their bathroom window had been smashed with a rock and several valuable items stolen.

Stolen items included her mother’s costume jewellery, as well as more valuable items like a couple of dress watches, a gold shamrock brooch and several electronic items.

She said she was surprised at the thief’s daring.

They had left home to run some errands shortly after 2pm returning less than two hours later while neighbours had been home on both sides of the property.

She thinks strong winds may have dulled the noise from the break-in.

“The window was made of old-fashioned glass. We picked it up for about five dollars.”

After hearing of other burglaries in Carterton and the Greytown area Heather said she wanted others to be more vigilant and raise awareness.

“I just thought I’d fight back a bit and make people more aware that it’s happening.”

Wairarapa police statistics show there were 56 burglaries in March this year, increasing to 71 in April, before dropping to 55 in May.

These statistics related to any event in which a property’s boundary was breached and items stolen – including less valuable items not typically associated with burglaries like shoes, garden gnomes and clothes.

Further police statistics show there was an approximate decrease in Wairarapa burglaries of about 25 per cent from August to November 2017, compared with the same four-month period last year.

Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth said this decrease could in part be contributed to arrests made in December of 2017 relating to Operation Sweden, an investigation of Wairarapa’s methamphetamine supply.

“It’s not just about locking up one person,” he said.

“Taking out 26 people all heavily involved in the supply of methamphetamine had a significant impact [on decreasing burglaries across the region].”

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