Tuesday, December 12, 2023

CCTV cameras help identify suspected keg thief

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Howick Police sergeant Brett Meale is pleased two suspects have been arrested and charged over recent incidents involving theft. Times photo Wayne Martin

Empty beer kegs may sound like an unlikely target for theft but that’s what allegedly proved too tempting for a man arrested and charged in relation to offending in east Auckland.

And the effective CCTV cameras in Howick Village played a key role in identifying the person who’s believed to be responsible.

Howick Police sergeant Brett Meale says a number of empty beer kegs were stolen from The Apothecary Licensed Eatery in Picton Street on the morning of September 23.

Later the same morning more empty beer kegs were taken from The Prospect of Howick pub, also in Picton Street.

“CCTV cameras throughout Howick Village have allowed us to identify the offender,” Meale says.

“A 30-year-old man from Papakura has been arrested and charged with burglary and theft.”

It’s understood the empty beer kegs may have been stolen to be on-sold for scrap.

In an unrelated incident several days before the thefts of kegs, in the early hours of September 20, the coffee caravan at the corner of Fencible Drive and Cook Street in Howick was targeted, Meale says.

“It was ransacked and had various items stolen from it. They were predominantly food items.

“A 55-year-old male was arrested on October 25 over that incident and charged with burglary. He’s currently before the courts.”

Meale is full of praise for the CCTV network operating around Howick Village, which is operated by the Howick Village Association (HVA).

“The cameras have enabled us to identify these offenders.

“We want to let people know the CCTV we have in the Village is excellent at hopefully preventing crime and also allowing us to identify offenders when crimes occur.”

The cameras are useful following other types of incidents also.

“There’s a lot of minor stuff that goes on around town involving vehicle collisions or car park crashes.

“We can also utilise that footage to identify people who don’t stop and leave their details.

“That’s another problem we have. There is CCTV around and if people happen to have a minor crash in Howick, they should please leave their details because there are cameras watching every move.

“These two incidents are prime examples of the extensive CCTV coverage we have in Howick and hopefully it deters anyone coming here to commit crime.”

HVA manager Jane Newbury says the association was recently granted generous funding from the Lion Foundation and Howick Local Board to upgrade legacy CCTV equipment and install new cameras throughout the Village.

The new cameras cover areas not previously under surveillance and also include a new ANPR camera unit in a prominent location, she says.

“This particular unit has captured and recorded offenders’ vehicle details, assisting NZ Police with prosecutions.

“Howick Village now has over 35 CCTV views throughout our area.

“New sensor spotlights have recently been installed at the rear of the Picton Street bus shelter, which now illuminates a previously dark area behind the shelter and across the market square.

“The previous Government’s Crime Prevention Fund also assisted the HVA with funding to establish additional security measures in the Village to detour potential offenders.”

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