Police have busted a burglary ring targeting homes at Far North holiday spots thanks to a rural community's investment in security cameras.
Officers from across the Mid North searched five properties in Kaikohe and one in Kerikeri early Thursday morning, making three arrests and recovering much of the property taken in a spate of break-ins over the past fortnight.
Three of the burglaries took place at Tauranga Bay on the night of June 1 and one at Paihia on May 21.
Senior Sergeant Chris McLellan, of Far North police, praised the Tauranga Bay community for investing both time and money in a quality security camera system. The images had identified the vehicle used in the burglaries, allowing police to track down the offenders.
"Cameras can prevent crime and help solve crime. They're invaluable, we can't stress that enough," Mr McLellan said.
A man aged 36 and a woman, 27, were released on bail early yesterday. Another man, aged 31, was held in custody and due in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday charged with four counts of burglary. All three are from Kaikohe.
Mr McLellan said police still wanted to talk to Richard John Marsters in relation to the burglaries. The Kaikohe 26-year-old already had seven warrants out for his arrest on charges of escaping custody, resisting arrest, intentional damage and breaching release conditions.
Most of the stolen property had been recovered, including a TV and fishing gear taken from Tauranga Bay and a significant amount of jewellery from Paihia.
Police were "following lines of enquiry" as to how the offenders had previously managed to sell stolen jewellery. He urged anyone who was offered jewellery for sale in suspicious circumstances to call police immediately.
Mr McLellan thanked the people of Tauranga Bay and Paihia for helping keep their communities safe by setting up neighbourhood support groups and installing security cameras.
* Car sales yards, a fertiliser company, a charitable trust and a cinema have been broken into in a single destructive night in Dargaville.
The spree started about 10.40pm on Tuesday when a Ford Courier ute was stolen from Dargaville Ford's car yard, then found burnt out half an hour later near the new skate park at Selwyn Park.
Some time after midnight burglars entered Marcel Motors' yard and broke the ignitions of seven vehicles in a failed bid to steal them. A storage container was also smashed open.
Also targeted were an office at the Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-op, where intruders got in by smashing a window, an office at the Greenway Trust workshop, and the Anzac Cinema, where the culprits broke in via a back door of the Northern Wairoa Memorial Hall.
Call Dargaville police on (09) 430 4500 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 if you know about the town's crime spree or saw anything suspicious from mid-evening on Tuesday to early Wednesday morning.