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Thieves go for smokes

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014

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Keep an eye out for cheap cigarettes - that's the message from police after the theft of cigarettes worth thousands of dollars in a spate of burglaries in West Auckland.

Waitakere Police are investigating burglaries where thieves have been damaging property and stealing large quantities of cigarettes.

Dairies and supermarkets in Titirangi and Swanson are among those hit in the crime spree, with shops on the North Shore also targeted.

One dairy lost $14,000 worth of cigarettes when burglars came through the roof in June.

Titirangi's SuperValue supermarket has been burgled four times in the past five months.

The manager, who did not want to be named, says thieves took nearly $10,000 worth of cigarettes the first time.

"Now we have moved them and they haven't been able to get them the last three times.

"But our insurance excess is now huge and it's getting to the point we might not be insurable soon."

As well as the cigarettes, the culprits are causing severe damage to buildings - the supermarket's smashed window cost $5000 to repair.

Waitakere area commander Inspector Rob Cochrane says police are following several lines of inquiry including reviewing CCTV footage.

"We're following a number of leads but we're encouraging retailers to make sure they secure their stock after closing up," Cochrane says.

"We're also interested in hearing from anyone who has seen cheap cigarettes for sale and we'd like to remind people that buying property that you know is stolen is a criminal offence."

Call detective Derek Elima of the Waitakere Burglary Squad on 839 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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- Western Leader

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