First a fire, then theft.
Cheeky thieves have ransacked the remains of Elizabeth and Mark Wilkinson's family business which was destroyed by a huge blaze (East & Bays Courier, February 12).
There have been at least two incidents of looting at the burned out CC Interiors furniture and lighting warehouse in St Johns since the incident on February 3.
Police dogs and the police helicopter were called to search for the culprits after a security guard at a neighbouring business spotted suspicious behaviour last Thursday.
Mrs Wilkinson says the offenders took "a few thousand dollars worth of stuff" including the family kayak from the shed and a large swinging chair that was outside the showroom. The items would have been badly smoke damaged, she says.
"You've got nothing and people are still taking things," she says.
"You feel very fragile. How can people do that?"
Fire investigators are still trying to establish what sparked the blaze, which was attended by more than 100 firefighters .
Neighbours alerted police to one of the looting incidents when they heard items being dragged from the building.
"It was so loud that they called out and said ‘do you guys have authority to be in there', Mrs Wilkinson says.
"They said ‘yeah, yeah, it's ok mate'."
They managed to get car licence plate numbers which were passed on to police, she says.
Eastern area Inspector Mark Benefield says the investigation is progressing. Police have some suspects and a possible line of inquiry.
"We do respond to suspicious sightings and it's great that the neighbouring business reported it," he says.
"It's a danger to the people entering the building and it's not a nice thing to do, taking advantage of a tragedy for the owners of the building."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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