Police say a group of crooks are targeting cars in Rotorua's central suburbs with almost 30 cars broken into in 18 days.

Rotorua police say they are working hard to catch the thieves who are hitting the Victoria area.

The thefts started on May 10 with police saying most are happening after 10.30pm. On occasions, the thieves have also tried to steal the cars.

The break-ins are frustrating locals with at least one resident saying she's fed up and is looking to move elsewhere.


Rotorua police acting area commander Inspector Brendon Keenan said the method of each break-in was the same with windows smashed and items taken from inside the vehicle.

"In several instances, attempts have been made to steal vehicles, with damage to the ignition."

With the incidents continuing into this week Keenan said it was important people locked their car, didn't leave valuable items in vehicles and left any items out of sight.

The thefts are taking place after 6pm with the highest risk coming after 10.30pm, he said.

Locations have included Elizabeth St, King St, Union St, Malfroy Rd, Tilsley St, Miller St, Philip St and Seddon St.

Police will be carrying out routine patrols of the area while thefts continue.

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Amandeep Kaur has lived in Elizabeth St for the last year, but finding her car broken into was enough to make her start looking elsewhere.

"My car was parked in the driveway and the two of my neighbours' cars were in the street," she said.

"When they tried to break into the third one it set the alarm off, and then they ran."

Kaur's mother was visiting from India and on the day her car was broken into they had been shopping together.

"We had been buying things for her, things to take back to India. We had clothes, golden jewellery, a Macbook, a brand new iPhone.

"I thought the boot would be safe, they took everything."

Thefts from other cars in the area have seen cash, sunglasses, clothing, perfume and keys stolen.

Since the break-in Kaur has been parking her car in the garage but she said she still doesn't feel safe.

"I'm now looking to get an anti-theft alarm.

"I want to stay here, but I don't feel safe. Sometimes I come home late at night and I worry who would be here."

Kaur believed the offenders were youths and said, after the theft, while covering her quarter light with paper, she was harassed by a group of teenagers in the street.

"It would be good to see the police doing night patrols.

"My worry is if they can break the glass in my car, what's to stop them breaking a window and just coming inside the house."

The Glass Guys owner Gary Donovan said his team saw a lot of smashed quarterlights.

"It does seem to come in spates and with these break-ins they always seem to go for the quarterlight.

"They're not cheap, they're quite an expensive part of a vehicle."

Having a quarterlight replaced could easily be $200, Donovan said.

"We often have to order stuff like that in, they come in overnight so we can just secure cars for them the best they can."

Donovan said they see an increase in these types of repairs around school holidays and over the Christmas period.

"We do a lot of work for campervan companies and that's mostly tourists, which is a horrible experience for them."