More than 100 Mazdas have been stolen in Rotorua since March, prompting police to issue a warning to drivers to be extra careful.

Rotorua police crime prevention manager Inspector Brendon Keenan said figures from the police's intelligence section revealed a strong pattern of Mazdas being stolen in the past few months.

He said the figures showed almost 40 of the 100 Mazdas stolen were Demios, and about 30 each of Atenzas and Familias.

He said the vehicles were from the late 1990s to 2007 and didn't have mod-cons such as immobilisers installed.


Keenan said there was no real pattern to where the vehicles were being taken from but most of the thieves were juvenile offenders who were stealing them for joy rides sometimes ending in burnouts and were often dumped before they found another car to steal nearby.

Keenan said it couldn't be fully understood why thieves targeted Mazdas but it was a problem nationwide.

"Demios are pretty much a nana car, if I can call them that, so perhaps the thieves think they might blend in?

"We have heard that it is a growing trend. In Christchurch in 2015 there was one Demio taken and in 2016 in that region there were 55."

The popularity of Mazda Demios among thieves had reportedly been linked to the vehicle featuring on the video game, Grand Theft Auto.

Police say Mazda Demios continue to be targeted by car thieves. Photo / File
Police say Mazda Demios continue to be targeted by car thieves. Photo / File

Keenan advised those who had those vehicles to ensure they were hidden from sight up driveways or inside garages and all valuables were removed.

If they were parked in public places, he said it was best to ensure they were in constant public view, such as near 24-hour service stations.

He strongly advised owners to get alarms, immobilisers or steering wheel locks put in.