Catching house burglar on video

By Jamie Morton


"You're screwed, mate."


That was Gordon Cromb's satisfied reaction when he caught on camera the burglar who raided his home near Tauranga in July.


And Mr Cromb and wife Jan say the chances of catching their thief would have been slim had they not spent $600 on a four-camera security system for their highway-side house in the Lower Kaimais.


The cameras had only just been installed - because a friend tipped off Mr Cromb that his prized hot rod was about to be stolen to order.


While the couple were at work on July 26, a burglar arrived at their home just before 3pm, peered through the windows and then broke in - despite looking directly at one of their new cameras.


It took him just seven minutes to go through the house and leave with two television sets and their remotes.


The fact that other items were left - including video games, touch-screen computers and $30 in cash that was sitting on the table - suggested the televisions had been stolen to order.


Mr Cromb said although he was infuriated when he first arrived home, his anger turned to pleasure when he checked the footage.


"We were pretty pleased this guy wasn't going to get away with it."


Using the footage, police were able to track down the thief in Hamilton within a week and charge him with other burglaries in the area.


Mr Cromb urged other people who were concerned that their homes might be vulnerable to burglary to invest in security.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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