A Te Puke security boss' family have been left feeling "shaken up" and "unsafe" after $10,000 worth of treasured family gear and mementos were stolen in broad daylight.
Tupaea Rolleston, Western Bay of Plenty community ward representative and chief executive of Tarnix Security Ltd, said a group of thieves was spotted driving on to his uncle's property on the No 2 Rd in Te Puke on Tuesday afternoon.
He believed they targeted the large family shed and basically "cleared it out", taking things like fishing roads, camping gear and vital hunting equipment.
Not only that, Rolleston said the thieves had taken thousands of dollars worth of tools that had been treasured by their late-grandfather.
It looked like the group had bypassed the house, which Rolleston put down to the two German shepherds, who would have been going berserk inside.
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His uncle and aunty were left feeling "shaken up" and "unsafe", but thankful their beloved dogs were left unharmed, he said.
His uncle Rod Pearce said he was feeling "very upset" because they had worked hard and saved money to buy what was simply stolen in an instant.
"It's a lifetime of stuff that we'll never replace now.
"They stole a box with some very special pictures and things in it - irreplaceable and precious, precious stuff. It's emotional and it hits you in the guts, it really does - it hits you hard."
Pearce said burglaries were "the bane of rural living" and a constant worry because people often had to leave their properties unoccupied when working.
"It's an invasion of privacy and an ongoing feeling of unease - it's not nice."
Rolleston and his family were well-known in the Te Puke area as Rolleston was also a volunteer firefighter and a community ward representative for the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
He said he had noticed a dramatic increase in burglaries in the area lately.
Rolleston had grown up on the property and said he wanted the thieves to know that they had "really hit home" with what they took.
He said they need to think about how badly what they are doing can affect people.
"I want that message to get back to the offenders."
As a security whizz, Rolleston had installed a full security system on the house, which included surveillance cameras.
These cameras captured the vehicle involved in the burglary.
Rolleston said he was confident that with these images, the perpetrators would be caught.
"It has definitely highlighted how important home security systems can be."
After sharing his story on Facebook, he said the photo of the car had been shared 180 times and he had received loads of messages with sightings.
He said he did not think his family's home had been targeted but instead, people had been looking for empty homes in the rural area, which was not uncommon.
Police were investigating the burglary and working closely with Rolleston.
A police spokeswoman said inquiries were under way to identify and locate the offenders.
She said police had been advised of several burglaries in the area recently but "nothing out of the ordinary that could be described as a spate".
Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president Darryl Jensen said security in rural areas had been an issue for a while now.
He said back in the day, people could pretty well leave their cars running and doors open, but that was not the case anymore.
Rural communities now took their security "very seriously" and had regular meetings to keep people alert, as well as hold a close relationship with local police, he said.
"We used to just rely on trust ... it is a shame."
He said they were advised to not leave any temptation for these people and ensure things were always locked up and good security systems were in place.
Protecting your property and belongings:
• Always lock your car, motorbike, bicycle or other vehicles.
• When out and about, keep your belongings secure and close to you.
• Don't provide places for burglars to hide - keep bushes and trees trimmed.
• Don't answer the door for someone you don't know or don't want in your home.
• Keep valuables out of sight - if it can be seen, it can be a target.
• Secure your doors, windows, sheds and garages with good quality locks. Install security stays on windows, especially those on ground level.
Source: New Zealand Police