Police are convinced there are connections between thefts in the Havelock North area which include a large number of half wine barrels and some hefty outdoor furniture.
They're unlikely to know for sure until they find the missing items, but Senior Constable Pehi Potaka says: "It's got to be related in some way. It's like someone's setting-up somewhere."
The mystery started with the disappearance of 13 half-barrels from a kindergarten in Te Mata Rd, Havelock North, on August 4-7. Seven were stolen from another Havelock North address soon afterwards.
Hefty macrocarpa furniture was stolen last week from the outdoor area of a cafe in Havelock Rd, between Napier and Havelock North. Taken were a large table, two bench seats and what Potaka says is "best-described" as a bar leaner.
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All the thefts are believed to have taken place in the hours of darkness, and would have involved more than one person and a vehicle or vehicles which could be used to transport the stolen items, he said.
Meanwhile, police and Clive couple Tom and Margie Maguire remain mystified over the July 27 theft of a Polaris ATV and the distinctive "Uncle Buck's Trailer" from their home near Kohupatiki Marae.
It had been widely used by family and the community of the Clive and Whakatu areas, but no sightings had been reported since it was taken, between 3.30am and 5.30am that Friday.
Potaka said police believe people will have seen all the items, and possibly wondered how they had been acquired.
• Any information which could be linked to the thefts should be provided to police, at the Hastings or any other station, or via Crimestoppers ph 0800-555111.