Rotorua police have enlisted the help of second hand stores, Trade Me and scrap metal businesses to recover stolen goods.

Area prevention manager Brendon Keenan said police were seeing quite a few small electronic goods and pieces of metal being stripped from properties.

"We started thinking, where are we likely to see these things appear?

"Often these thieves don't want handfuls of cell phones or metres of copper cables, what they really want is to get rid of them in exchange for cash."


He said the police regularly received phone calls from stores reporting stolen goods.

"They are really proactive in their approach, and that's really got better over the years.

"We are trying to form these relationships across the board, because in the prevention space it's very helpful."

Keenan said receiving stolen goods was a serious offence and the businesses knew that.

Recently the team at Cash Converters Rotorua was able to reunite an overseas tourist with her missing MacBook.

The MacBook was offered for sale but staff became suspicious when the owner's details did not match those of the people trying to sell it.

Store manager Roimata Williams said they took it away to look at it while the would-be sellers waited and then called police, "who arrived very quickly".

"Our staff member FaceTimed the real owner, who turned out to be a tourist from the Philippines. She was pretty surprised, but the uniformed officer jumped on and explained that her property had been recovered and they would return it to her.

"She told us it had gone missing just a short time earlier, from a coffee table at her Airbnb, while she was out for a walk."

Williams said all of the tourist's photos from her travels in New Zealand were on the laptop.

"We were really pleased to be able to play a part in ensuring it was returned to her and that she has good memories of Rotorua."

Cash Converters is one of a number of stores that participate in SNAP (Serial Number Action Partnership), an initiative of the New Zealand police aimed at preventing burglary and property offending, and to make it harder for criminals to sell stolen goods.

It is a free service, which allows anyone to enter and maintain details – such as descriptions and serial numbers - of all their important possessions or assets into an asset list.

Advice to avoid buying stolen goods
• If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
• Know what the product is worth, if the pricing is too low then something may be wrong.
• Ask them why they're selling the product, check that it all adds up.
• A lack of history or knowledge about the item can often be a good indicator.
- Rotorua police