Volunteer fire station suffers crime spree

By Turangi Chronicle

Photo / File
Photo / File

Turangi's volunteer firefighters are in disbelief after their fire station was burgled again last week - the third time it has been raided this year.

The break in occurred shortly before 10am on Saturday.

This is the third time this year the station has been burgled and the second time in two weeks that thieves have illegally entered the building and made their way to the staff bar and canteen.

This time the thieves left with nothing. However, one received a cut hand. Several minutes of footage was captured on the station's recently installed CCTV system.

Chief fire officer Tong Kingi said staff were saddened by the first burglary earlier this year in which thieves pulled a plasma TV from a conference room wall and then made for the bar, but the following two burglaries have seen sadness turn to anger.

Detective Sergeant Neale Saunders was also saddened by the burglaries.

"Here is an organisation that is all about keeping our community safe. It does not matter who you are or where you come from, if you need help the Fire Service will come. The Turangi brigade is voluntary, with members from across our community giving up their time and energy to help others and how are they rewarded? By some miscreant breaking into the station to steal.

"I know that the local community will have the same sense of sadness and disbelief that I feel in knowing this kind of act happens here in our community. There will be people in the community who know who these criminals are and it is time for them to speak up."

Mr Kingi says the thieves left plenty of fingerprints during last weekend's attack and he is hopeful the prints coupled with still CCTV images will lead to the perpetrators being identified.

The pair of burglars appeared to be young, possibly teenagers. One had been clearly identified as a male and they were armed.

"From what we can see they have used a knife or something to try and jimmy open the counter doors of the canteen," Mr Kingi said.

About 10 minutes before the break in, a staff member had been in the station carrying out odd jobs and shortly after the incident another staff member arrived at the station. The window of opportunity was small, Mr Kingi said.

"The first time it happened, earlier in the year, everyone was quite upset, this time it's become anger. Who do they thing they are? The station will become Fort Knox very quickly."

Messages of support from the community have been posted on Turangi Fire Brigade's Facebook page and Mr Kingi hoped the community could assist in identifying those responsible.

"The word is certainly out in the community and the word will get around, we're a small town and people have no tolerance for this kind of thing."

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