Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Wellington quake: Brazen cafe thieves identified

City council workers clean up glass and rubble from deserted streets in the central business district. Picture / Mark Mitchell
City council workers clean up glass and rubble from deserted streets in the central business district. Picture / Mark Mitchell

Police say they have identified three people linked to a brazen theft from a Wellington cafe after Sunday's magnitude 6.5 earthquake.

Mojo State has been flooded with messages, calls and emails after it released CCTV images of four young people stealing the safe from the cafe in the State Insurance Tower on Willis St at 12.20am on Monday, about seven hours after the tremor.

The "low-life'' offenders, whose faces were clear in CCTV images posted on Facebook, have been condemned by social media users.

Mojo has since removed the images from its Facebook page, but in a post today thanked customers who had come forward with information.

"Thank you to everyone who's messaged, called and emailed us regarding the burglary at Mojo State. We've sent the information you supplied to the Wellington police to follow up."

Wellington police acting district commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger yesterday said police had spoken to a 16-year-old girl in relation to the burglary.

Today, police said they had identified three people in relation to the burglary. A scene examination was completed at the cafe today and inquiries were continuing.

Meanwhile, work to clean up damaged buildings in Wellington's city centre continued today.

Most buildings hit hard by the quake suffered only superficial damage, including the badly shaken BNZ building at Harbour Quays, which will be closed for at least six weeks as internal repairs are carried out.

Some buildings suffered more serious structural damage, like the historic Old Public Trust building which is home to Creative New Zealand and a number of law offices.

A Creative NZ spokeswoman said staff had vacated the building due to earthquake damage.

More engineering checks were required before any decisions about returning to the building could be made, she said.

Wellington City Council's Civil Defence controller Stavros Michael said council staff were working closely with building owners and engineers to keep tabs on 28 damaged properties in the central city.

He said good progress was being made to repair damaged buildings in Featherston St, most of which had either broken windows or superficial damage to their facades.

All but one of the Featherston St buildings were open today, but sections of the street will continue to be cordoned off, with traffic reduced to one lane, while the work is done.

The Central Library is expected to reopen tomorrow morning after repairs were carried out on plastering on pillars.

The Earthquake Commission today said it had received 1475 claims following the swarm of quakes centred off the coast of Seddon in Marlborough, the first of which struck on Friday.

GNS Science said GPS monitoring had shown parts of Marlborough moved up to 5cm to the east during the biggest of the quakes on Sunday.

However, the movement would have gone unnoticed to most people in Marlborough, who would have been far more involved in the the earthquake's strong ground-shaking at the time.

The biggest surface displacement occurred in a large area between Blenheim and the Awatere Valley, with smaller horizontal movements in other parts of Marlborough.

GNS said the fault rupture under the strait had been calculated as a 19km northeast-southwest slash in the earth's crust, coming to within a short distance of the coast at Clifford Bay at its southern end.

Seismologist Stephen Bannister said the fault's vertical rupture, between 6km and 18km below the seabed, was consistent with the pattern of aftershocks.

However, the data was not a clean fit with known existing faults - raising the possibility it could be a previously unknown fault.

Previous mapping of the southern part of Cook Strait had shown a complex network of faults on the seabed.

"It's like grand central station down there. It's a challenge to understand the interactions among these faults,'' Dr Bannister said.

Little is known about the neighbouring faults, one of which is believed to rupture once every 3500 to 5000 years.

- APNZ

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