Parking bandits come up short

By Mike Barrington

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Whangarei District Council roading manager Geoff Devine in Whangarei's Forum North carpark where thieves have removed a pay and display parking coupon machine. Photo / John Stone
Whangarei District Council roading manager Geoff Devine in Whangarei's Forum North carpark where thieves have removed a pay and display parking coupon machine. Photo / John Stone

Thieves hoping to steal cash from Whangarei pay-and-display parking machines have found them unrewarding.

The wannabe robbers have resorted to a "gas axe" and towing gear to get into machines already emptied by Whangarei District Council staff.

The only payout is to council contractors who will collect an estimated $30,000 to replace three of the vandalised machines, which are beyond repair.

A machine hit in the Hatea Dr carpark last month was destroyed by efforts to open its cash box, which had already been cleared. In a second failed raid there an oxy-acetylene "gas axe" was used to get into another.

Council roading manager Geoff Devine said the machines were designed to be vandal-proof. "That one was damaged, but it is still operating."

Two others among about 70 such machines around the Whangarei CBD had also received rough treatment.

On Tuesday night a machine at Forum North was roped, tied to a vehicle towbar, pulled off its concrete base and stolen. But all the CBD machines are being emptied of cash by 5pm daily.

- Northern Advocate

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