Two men alleged to have burgled a Napier man's home late on Thursday night were caught red-handed after being followed by an alert neighbour who saw them in action.
The victim told Hawke's Bay Today he had just gone to bed at his home in Wycliffe St about 11.30pm when a car arrived, a light was shone at the house, and a red-hooded man knocked at the door.
A 27-year-old who bought his first home last year, he did not know the person, chose not to open the door and the vehicle left.
But it was back soon afterwards, with a man carrying a crowbar forcing the front door as the victim fled through the rear of the house and hid while he called the police.
Meanwhile, a neighbour was watching as the burglars entered the house, and followed the thieves as they drove off with the victim's TV sets and Playstation console.
The victim said that he followed police communications staff instructions to meet police "down the road" and found they had already apprehended the two suspects.
"I don't know them," he said last night, worried by some lost feeling of security in his own home and the belief that "there's not much deterrent" for the burglars.
In one example of light penalties four youths, aged 18 and 19, facing up to 11 charges of burglary and theft in Whangarei in May, all avoided jail and were sentenced to home detention. They were ordered to pay their shares of reparation totalling almost $80,000.
Last month in Whanganui a man with 12 burglary convictions behind him was sentenced to 18 months' jail for his next.
Senior Sergeant Mike Stevenson said it was a good example of the community being the "eyes and ears" for the police, and reckoned that if there wasn't a Neighbourhood Support group operating in the area, there "certainly seems to be an effective unofficial one".
"Thanks to the quick-thinking of both the victim and his neighbour, police were able to quickly identify those responsible and recover the stolen property," he said.
Two men will appear in Napier District Court on Wednesday.