Be vigilant and report crime to police, not Facebook — that's the plea to locals on the Coromandel after an audacious burglary that spanned from Tairua to Whangamatā.
Stirling Sports and Strictly Time in Whangamatā were hit at "the worst possible time" after unwanted visitors stole a Subaru station wagon from Kauri Place in Tairua around midnight, before smashing into two shops in Port Rd, Whangamatā.
Police believe four or five men were responsible for the havoc wreaked in a matter of minutes.
Several thousands of dollars of new-season clothing was stolen from Stirling Sports, which had just stocked up for the pre-Christmas season.
Daniel Davie — whose co-owner wife Ange was overseas at the time — has CCTV footage of the three men smashing into the store and grabbing goods that had just arrived for the Christmas-New Year season.
It has left the couple having to consider putting a grille on the shopfront.
"It was brazen, they were only in for five minutes. We are trying to get fresh stock but the new season stock we had was ordered months ago.
"It's the worst timing."
He wanted to thank staff and local tradespeople who sprung into action getting the shop fixed and reopened so quickly and locals living near the store, some who immediately searched Facebook buy-sell sites to help track down stolen goods.
Whangamatā Police Sergeant Will Hamilton said several witnesses were woken by the noise of the smashing glass and security arrived within minutes.
He asked people to report suspicious activity to police.
"Call 105 for non-urgent information but if you see suspicious activity, for example someone hanging around a house late at night or a vehicle driving around looking suspicious, call 111.
"People tend to post on Facebook group sites, we don't monitor Facebook 24-7. We need to know straight away."
The car was located the following day, Tuesday, damaged and dumped in the western Waikato area.
It was stolen from the Tairua address while the occupants were home, with keys accessed from inside the house.
"Two other vehicles appear to have been entered at another address in Norfolk Place in Tairua earlier the same night, around 11pm. The owner from that address has seen the vehicle van door lights on, and gone outside, secured that vehicle and his garage," police said.
"What looks pretty clear is those responsible have targeted Tairua as they see it as a soft touch. They had no hesitation in entering the properties, with the occupants at home, to steal the vehicle."
Those offenders at this stage remain outstanding. Inquiries were ongoing to identify them.
Make it harder for criminals
• Lock your vehicles.
• Don't leave keys easily accessed at your home address.
• If you're in the back of the house, lock the front and don't leave doors open or unlocked to give them the opportunity to gain access.
• Report all suspicious behaviour. If it's happening now, and persons are seen, the number is 111. If it's historical, the number is 105.
• If anyone recalls any activity that wasn't right from last Monday, report it through the 105 number, and the information will come through to the local police.