Crime wave shocks residents of upmarket suburb

By Amy McGillivray of the Bay of Plenty Times -
Police say three houses and 12 cars have been broken into in Matua in the past 12 days. Photo / File
Police say three houses and 12 cars have been broken into in Matua in the past 12 days. Photo / File

Thieves have been raiding cars and homes in an upmarket Tauranga suburb - with most targeted cars left unlocked.

Police say three houses and 12 cars have been broken into in Matua in the past 12 days.

An Idesia Grove resident, who refused to be named for security reasons, said a friend's ute was broken into on Sunny Bay Rd and a laptop was taken. This was followed by a series of break-ins on Sunday night.

Her car, which was unlocked in a carport, was rifled through late on Sunday night. She knew of about six other cars in nearby streets that were broken into the same night.

The Matua home of Trent and Barbara was broken into while they and their children were in their rooms asleep on Sunday night. The burglar pulled the living room sliding door off its hinges and stole a laptop, iPad and stereo. Their two unlocked cars, which were parked in the driveway beside the house, were also rifled through.

"It was quite worrying when I worked out what had happened because our children's rooms are first and our room is right down the end of the hall," Barbara said.

Since the break-in the family have upped their security by having extra locks put on the outside doors and ensuring they can lock the hallway door which leads to the bedrooms.

Roz, a Weka Rd resident, had escaped being targeted but was concerned about the escalating crime wave in the usually quiet neighbourhood.

"It's been a really bad weekend," she said. "It's a pretty tight-knit community. We all know each other."

At least five families in the area had installed electric gates, alarms or extra locks since the weekend, she said.

Western Bay of Plenty police area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said the number of burglaries and cars broken into had increased noticeably in the past couple of weeks.

Of the 12 cars broken into so far this month only three were locked, he said.

Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Cade, officer in charge of Tauranga station, said people needed to look out for each other.

Getting to know your neighbours, letting them know when you were likely to be home, having cars parked in your driveway while you were away and getting neighbours to collect your mail and mow your lawns all deterred opportunistic thieves, he said.

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