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Vandals rip into pensioners' cars

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
Khoshaba
JAY BOREHAM

SLASHED: Residents Khoshaba and Kelvin wait for new tyres after their cars were attacked by vandals.

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Retirement village residents have been left appalled and out of pocket after vandals attacked their cars.

Residents at Manurewa's Orchard Grove retirement village woke on November 21 to find three of their vehicles had all four tyres slashed while parked inside the grounds.

Car owner Melody Tutini says she's "absolutely gutted".

The attack brought back bad memories for the residents of the Housing New Zealand complex after a similar attack two years ago.

"They'll come back again within two or three days and do the rest of the cars in the complex. That's what they did when they smashed all our windows last time," she says.

After the first attack Housing New Zealand said it would be adding security features and had already placed a gate on the complex because of the residents' concerns.

But Ms Tutini says new security features never happened.

"And the gate doesn't work. It's too heavy for the bars and every time they fix it you've got five to 10 days before the bolts smash off again - so we've got no gate."

None of the security lights in the complex come on either, she says.

Now Ms Tutini is out of pocket because her insurance does not cover the damage. "You can't afford anything on your senior citizen's benefit," she says.

A resident who would only identify himself as Kelvin also fell victim to the car vandals.

But he says he forgives them. The act is just "the writing on the wall", he says. "There's a lot of young people and they don't have anything and the government's got nothing to offer them.

"This is their way - tagging and doing these kind of things is a way of reaching out to us.

"I understand that they are hurting and Jesus wants their life to do something with - to put some of their talents into something else."

Housing New Zealand tenancy services manager Denise Fink says the corporation is concerned about the incident and strongly encourages residents to contact the police.

"Housing New Zealand is concerned about tenant safety and has security measures in place at the complex, including a security fence, gate, and lighting."

The complex is well designed so there is good visibility from units to outdoor areas and parking spaces.

"Unfortunately criminal activity can still occur even when good security features and design are in place to help prevent it, which is why police involvement is recommended here."

Ms Fink says gate runners on the fence were replaced last year because of normal wear and tear and Housing New Zealand has now responded to a request this week to repair the gate.

"Our contractors have recommended that the control box for the gate be replaced and a new one is currently on order.

"We expect it to arrive and be installed by early December."

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- Manukau Courier

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