Monday, April 22, 2024

Thieves targeting rego plates, courier parcels

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Motorists are asked to be aware of thieves stealing the registration number plates off vehicles in east Auckland. Times file photo

East Auckland motorists who find their vehicle’s registration number plates have vanished thanks to theft aren’t alone.

The issue is widespread across the community and Howick Police community services supervisor, sergeant Brett Meale, is asking people to help make the plates less appealing targets for thieves.

“It’s a pretty steady thing,” he told the Times.

“Registration plates are being stolen off cars overnight while parked on the road or in driveways.

“Those plates are then used by offenders to carry out petrol station drive-offs and things such as that.”

Meale says one of the ways police work to prevent such crimes is through its ‘Safer Plates’ programme, which is run by local community patrols.

“Several times a year we run events at shopping centres or local supermarket car parks, where we exchange the screws in registration plates,” Meale says.

“Normally it’s a $5 fee to change the screws to ones that are tamper-proof. They can’t be removed without a special tool.”

Such events in east and south Auckland are publicised on Counties Manukau Police’s Facebook page.

“We’ve done them in the East Tamaki business area and at Botany Town Centre,” Meale says.

“It helps prevent a vehicle’s plates being stolen and the owner going through the hassle of having to get new ones.”

A second crime issue causing problems for locals according to Meale is the theft of courier parcels from people’s properties.

“That’s still a fairly regular occurrence,” he says.

“People need to arrange with their courier company somewhere that’s more secure on their property to store the parcel.

“A lot of people have CCTV cameras monitoring their front doors, so we’re getting some identities of these offenders.

“It’s just for people to be on the lookout for anyone who’s arriving straight after the courier’s been.

“Often they’ll be wearing a high-vis vest to make themselves look official.”

Meale says the actions of thieves filmed on CCTV that he’s watched are brazen.

“They walk in as though they’re meant to be there. They bend down and grab the parcel and off they trot with it.

“I watched one recently of a guy on a bike and he rode in, picked the parcel up, and rode off.”

Local residents may also notice their mail occasionally going missing.

As the Times has previously reported, two people were arrested and charged in June last year following reports of alleged theft from mailboxes in Bucklands Beach.

They were apprehended in Pakuranga and have since appeared in the Manukau District Court charged with theft.

“This was an excellent demonstration of teamwork between different areas of policing and we are pleased to have brought a resolution to those in the community who may have been impacted,” police said at the time.

People can report theft to police by phoning 111 if it’s happening at the time or on 105 after the incident.

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