By RACHAEL MACDONALD
North Canterbury police are hoping an arrest in Selwyn last week might help resolve the series of break-ins that have plagued the Waimakariri District in the last month.
While the man is certainly not the only burglar suspected of being active in the area, it appears he may have been behind several of the recent break-ins and fuel thefts, Senior Sergeant Matt Emery says.
In the last fortnight alone, the Cust Community Centre and Waimakariri Golf Club have been burgled.
Motorbikes, trailers, and farm fuel have been stolen, and tools – including chainsaws and nail guns – were removed through a hole cut in the back of a locked shed.
Then, on the other side of Christchurch, a man driving a white station wagon was arrested while allegedly stealing fuel in Tai Tapu last Thursday. The vehicle had recently been hand-painted to disguise its original dark colour, so police suspect he knew they were looking for him.
He faces multiple charges and is being interviewed regarding offending in North Canterbury. “Police are now working to collate evidence and prosecute the arrested person for all the offences that they are responsible for,” Senior Sergeant Emery says.
“That said, I would continue to urge vigilance within our rural communities, and if something doesn’t look right, make sure you report it to us.
“Try to obtain as much information as possible, such as descriptions, car number plates, times and places.
“Also, a reminder to take all steps possible to prevent offences from happening in the first place. Keep valuable property locked away; lock vehicles, houses, sheds; and don’t leave expensive tools in vehicles overnight.”
Rangiora’s scene-of-crime officer, Senior Constable Tony Maw, agrees tools left in cars parked on the road are a popular target, even in urban areas, as are insecure sheds and garages.
“And we’re suggesting that farmers ensure their fuel tanks are alarmed, covered by good-quality CCTV, or at least securely locked,” he says.
“Please report any suspicious activity immediately via 111. We need number plates ideally, but at least get us on the way.
“We would much rather find out it is all OK than discover it wasn’t and the offenders got away.”