Thursday, June 13, 2024

Children caught after Howick liquor store raided by thieves

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Police responded after a group of children allegedly stole items from LiquorLand Howick. File photo supplied

A group of children, including one who’s just 10 years old, were caught by police after allegedly stealing items from an east Auckland store.

The incident happened at LiquorLand Howick in Elliot Street at about 9.22am on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson says police received a report of a group of offenders having entered the building and stealing a number of items.

Police understand several members of the group were armed with a hammer and iron bar.

“A stolen white van used by the offenders was spotted soon after by attending police units and was subsequently spiked.

“Eagle [helicopter] provided aerial support and tracked the vehicle to a location in Manurewa, where it was deliberately driven through a fence at a residential property.

“The occupants of the van have decamped into the address and six offenders were subsequently taken into custody without incident.

“Three were arrested and appeared in the Manukau Youth Court yesterday (March 15) and the other three were released and referred to police’s Youth Aid Service.

“The offenders ranged in age from 10 to 15 years old.”

The incident is not the first time LiquorLand Howick has been targeted by thieves.

A group of offenders used a stolen vehicle to smash a hole in the store before gaining entry and stealing bottles of alcohol at about 5am on April 3 last year.

The business’s owner-operator, Joss Granger, said at the time she felt emotional when she saw the damage that was caused.

“When I pulled into the driveway I just sat in my car and cried because I wasn’t expecting that.

“It was a huge shock when I first got here, and to have police all over the place. Watching the [CCTV] footage feels really violating.

“To see people ransack your property like that with complete disregard. We’re all finding it rough at the moment and this adds insult to injury on top of everything else.”

Meanwhile, two other local businesses were also broken into by thieves this week.

A commercial premises in Moore Street, Howick, and another in Cook Street, Howick, were broken into at about 3am on March 11.

“Entry was gained to both premises by smashing a glass door, with an amount of alcohol taken from one premises while nothing was stolen the other,” the police spokesperson says.

“Police are following positive lines of enquiry in relation to both these incidents.”

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says retail crime is “out of control” under the Labour Government and is causing significant concern and damager for small business across the country, including in east Auckland.

He says if elected to Government at this year’s general election, the National Party will create a new ‘Young Serious Offender’ category, targeting the ringleaders of crimes such as ram-raids.

“This will apply to offenders aged 10-17 who have committed a serious offence such as a ram-raid, other aggravated burglary, or serious assault at least twice.

“Consequences will include being sent to a Young Offender Military Academy, electronic monitoring, or being subject to an intensive supervision order in their community.

“We need to crack down on youth offending, rather than just accept it as this Government appears to be doing.”

The police spokesperson says officers engage with business owners following burglaries and ram-raids, and provide “tailored prevention advice to improve their security and to reduce the risk of being targeted by offenders”.

“This is a complex matter and police cannot solve it alone.

“We need a co-ordinated partnership approach with agencies, communities, iwi, and social service providers working together to prevent this offending.

“We are focused on what police can do to prevent this crime and harm so everybody in our communities can feel safe and be safe.”

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