The prompt actions of a group of astute Pakuranga residents led to the recovery of three stolen cars and the arrest of three alleged car thieves in one morning.
The arrests were aided by early reporting from members of the public, said Counties Manukau East police Sergeant Michael Crabtree.
Last Monday, a Honda was stolen from Cockle Bay at 1.20am, then a Subaru Forester was stolen from Highland Park at 1.30am.
The owners of the Subaru alerted police as soon as they became aware of the theft. They were able to provide a good description of their car as well as the registration plate number, police said, and units were quickly dispatched.
The stolen Subaru was later abandoned in a nearby street. Witnesses saw the occupants fleeing in a white Honda - which matched the description of the car stolen from Cockle Bay.
Later that morning, a Mazda Familia station wagon was stolen from Pakuranga at 2am. The stolen Honda from Cockle Bay was found abandoned at the scene.
The stolen Mazda station wagon was stopped by police in Sunnyhills at 2.15am and three occupants ran from the vehicle.
A dog unit was called in and successfully tracked three people to a nearby reserve where they were arrested.
They are due to appear at the Manukau Youth Court on Monday afternoon.
Sergeant Michael Crabtree said people should not be deterred from calling police to report suspicious behaviour.
"Thanks to the quick action of the nearby residents and owners of the stolen vehicles, we could ensure these offenders were held accountable for their actions immediately.
"Ensure you know your registration plate number as this is the easiest way for police to identify your car."
Car owners needed to secure their vehicle and make sure valuable items were not left inside, Mr Crabtree said.
"Quite simply, you should lock it or lose it. Don't let thieves ruin your day by making your car a target for a break-in."
Anyone who witnessed a crime or who suspected a crime was about to take place should call police immediately on 111, Mr Crabtree said.
Information could also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.