Robbed golfer calling for law change

Tom Owen with all he was left with, a club and a ball, after thieves stole his golf set. But despite having a GPS tracking device in the stolen golf bag, Police are unable to retrieve the stolen items.

A golfer is calling for a law change after learning police couldn’t retrieve his stolen items – despite being able to track their exact location.

Tom Owen had his golf bag stolen, containing $2000 worth of equiptment, on December 15th from Howick Golf Course at Musick Point.

“They took everything, all my clubs, my bag, trundle, golf balls and my mobile phone which was tucked away inside the bag,” he says.

Owen quickly tracked his phone using a GPS tracking app, and found the equipment had been taken to a nearby residential address on Pigeon Mountain Road.

After reporting the incident, Owen was surprised to learn that police were not able to search the premises for the goods.

“I tracked it right to the front door of the property,” he says.

“I knew exactly where the golf bag was, but I’m not sure if the police have even gone to the house I tracked it to yet,” he says.

“So basically even though you can track your phone to an exact address, it would appear the police are unable to do anything.”

Owen thinks the current law is frustrating for victims of theft and will encourage them to try and retrieve the stolen goods themselves.

“It’s very frustrating to know where your stolen items are and not have anyone do anything about it.

“If police really can’t act on the information you give them, then something needs to change.”

He says he went to the house where the stolen golf clubs are believed to be before contacting police.

“I actually went there twice. The first time nobody was home. The second time a woman answered the door and said she knew nothing about the theft. The police told me afterwards, I shouldn’t have done that.”

Owen says his mobile phone has since been turned off, and he is no longer able to track it.

“One of my friends called my phone, which probably alerted them to the fact that the phone was in there and being used to track the golf bag.”

Despite being confident the golf clubs are in the house, Owen says he holds “no great hope” of ever getting them back.

A police spokesperson says the investigation is ongoing.

“While we understand people may think police can use the tracking system people use on their phones and then send a patrol car to retrieve the property, under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, police officers do not have the authority to enter a premise based off a locater app on a missing phone.

“If police resources are available and the technology can pin-point a specific address such as a household, Police are able to knock on the door and make enquiries, but not enter.”

The police spokesperson says they strongly discourage members of the public from taking matters into their own hands and placing themselves in situations where there may be a potential risk to their safety.

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