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Police appeal for information over unsolved burglaries

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Police examined a group of shops in Howick for evidence after they were broken into in August, 2022. Times file photo Wayne Martin

Police have been unable to identify the thieves who broke into a group of east Auckland businesses more than a year ago.

Five stores at a retail block in Moore Street, Howick, were damaged during burglaries carried out at about 3am on August 23, 2022.

Those targeted were Bin Inn, Pizza Club, Fruit World, Awesome Shop and Yume Sushi.

The incident happened among a well-publicised rise in crime such as ram-raids and smash-and-grab burglaries across the country.

Photos taken of the scene later that day showed large panes of glass at the entry of each business smashed and police tape blocking off part of the area.

Police forensic specialists examined the shops for evidence as their owners and staff worked to clean up the mess left behind.

Initial information provided to police suggested the thieves arrived and later fled the scene in a dark-coloured SUV vehicle.

The five offenders who broke into Bin Inn were filmed in action by the store’s security cameras.

Footage showed the group enter the store with one of them going behind the counter.

Another member of the group stood back and appeared to be filming the others with a mobile phone.

Bin Inn’s owner Chanchal Deol said his store’s till was open and empty at the time.

He believes the offenders filmed their actions to upload to social media.

“They came in and in 30 seconds they’d come and gone,” he said at the time.

“I don’t know how they did it but they broke a glass [at the storefront].

“It’s upsetting. We’ve been celebrating nine years’ business this year and we’re celebrating this month as our [store’s] birthday.”

Deol said he lives close to his store and got there within two minutes of being alerted to the break-in.

Police were already at the scene when he arrived.

“I was scared to come here at 3am. I called my cousin and he came as well and I called my security company.”

The burglaries drew strong condemnation from local community leaders, including Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, who said he was shocked to hear five shops had been burgled.

“This will be heart-breaking for the business owners and their staff and I hope the perpetrators are quickly brought to justice,” he said.

Seventeen months on and police are yet to bring those responsible to justice.

A police spokesperson says police have made extensive enquiries into the burglaries.

“Despite efforts to identify those responsible, police have currently exhausted all lines of enquiry and the matter has been filed pending further information coming to light.

“Police have spoken to all those involved regarding this decision, however should new information be received, police are open to reassessing the matter.

“Police acknowledge the impact this type of offending can have on the owners of the businesses, as well as the community, and we have provided support to those involved since the incident occurred.”

The spokesperson says police ask people with information that may assist the investigation to phone 105 or go online to https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105, using Update My Report and referencing file number 220823/1432.

Alternatively, phone the free and anonymous Crimestoppers tip-off line on 0800 555 111.

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