Cop uses iPhone to help nab suspects

By Kristin Edge

Whangarei Police spokesman Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said yesterday's arrests came after some innovative use of a police iPhone.
Whangarei Police spokesman Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said yesterday's arrests came after some innovative use of a police iPhone.

Modern technology caught up with two suspected teenage burglars after a quick-thinking cop used his iPhone to snap security camera images which he emailed to other police on the beat.

It led to the arrest of the duo eight hours later who were spotted by observant officers.

Police say the two girls aged 14 and 15 who were arrested are part of a wider group targeting businesses in the Whangarei area for alcohol.

Just last month staff at Split Bar in the central city noticed four girls acting suspiciously as they locked up for the night.

Police arrested four girls aged 13, 14, 17 and 18 after officers caught them trying to get away with beer kegs - which turned out to be empty.

The latest burglary has prompted police to warn sports clubs and any businesses with alcohol to ensure they secure their premises, have alarm systems installed and if possible decent Close Circuit Television, CCTV.

Whangarei Police spokesman Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said yesterday's arrests came after some innovative use of a police iPhone.

Police were alerted to a break in at the Stakeout Bar and Grill restaurant in Bank St after thieves smashed their way in through a door about 10pm on Wednesday. Police were quickly on the scene but the thieves had vanished.

They stole bottles of spirits and liquors, plus red wine.

An officer used his iPhone to take a photo of the CCTV footage showing the offenders breaking into the restaurant and emailed it to colleagues.

About 6am yesterday staff patrolling in Rust Ave recognised one of the offenders in the photo. She was among a group of five other people.

The group was taken back to the police station and as a result two girls were arrested.

Mr Metcalfe said it was a great example of how police were using their iPhones and iPads.

"Instead of waiting two or three days to have CCTV footage downloaded and then sent to staff to see if they recognise the offenders, we can do it in the field instantly.

"This was an innovative use of an iPhone, which led to a good result.

"We are likely to clear a number of burglaries as a result of our staff's efforts."

Mr Metcalfe said the technology was being used by officers on a regular basis.

One example was when staff went to a crash scene they could live-stream footage to the command centre at Whangarei Station where staff could get an idea of the situation officers were dealing with.

- Northern Advocate

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