An Auckland bar which was burgled three weeks ago was targeted again early yesterday - further frustrating the owner who believes it might not have happened if police had followed up leads about the first break-in.
A thief tried to break into the coolstore at the Francoli Bar and Restaurant in Ellerslie but was thwarted by the extra security installed since the last burglary on Christmas Eve.
The burglar then turned to a garage at the back of the venue - destroying the door in the process of breaking in and making off with up to $1000 worth of beer and wine.
The Herald revealed yesterday that up to $2000 worth of beer and wine was stolen from the bar on December 24. The thief was captured on video camera and the images - with a possible name and address for the man - were passed to police that same day, with a tip that he was selling the stolen liquor from his home.
Despite that information, the suspect was never visited. Bar owner Nick Brooks was later told by police that was because the file was never even assigned to a detective as it wasn't "the only burglary" in Auckland.
On Wednesday, after Mr Brooks contacted his MP Allan Peachey, Act leader Rodney Hide and the Herald, the file was assigned but it came too late to prevent last night's burglary.
Mr Brooks said there was a good chance the burglary was committed by the same person as last time, given they got away with it so easily three weeks ago. Both incidents also happened at the same time in the morning - roughly between 2am and 3am.
Yesterday, Mr Brooks received much improved service from the police who are investigating both burglaries.
It is understood police have now visited the address given in relation to the first burglary but were unable to find anyone that matched the description of the man on the security tape.
Spokeswoman Ana-Mari Gates-Bowey said police are now following other "strong leads".
"It is unfortunate that there was a delay but this will not affect the outcome of the investigation," she said. "Police are now following up strong leads and are confident in resolving this complaint on behalf of Mr Brooks."
However Mr Hide, who has spoken to Police Minister Judith Collins about the delay in investigating the first burglary, said it was no wonder burglars continued to commit crime.
"This is exactly the problem - why wouldn't criminals hit this bar again when they know police aren't interested when someone has been caught red-handed?"
Ms Collins said it was her expectation that burglaries were investigated within a reasonable time. She expected victims would be treated in a professional manner and kept informed about progress.