Neighbour's quick action gives cops lead
The threat of danger did not even cross the mind of a loyal neighbour who caught and photographed a burglar.
Mother of two Petra Lipoth had just arrived back at her home in Birkenhead at around 1pm on October 1 when she heard her neighbour's house alarm going off.
Another neighbour and a tradesman, who was working on her property went next door to investigate.
"I went to the back door and saw a young guy coming from the neighbour's driveway.
"It looked like he had come through the hedge."
Mrs Lipoth says she followed and questioned the man as he attempted to walk away.
"The painter went up to him and said, ‘what are you doing here?' Meanwhile he asked me to take a photo and so I used my smartphone."
Police were called as the man took off down Vienna Rd, she says.
"We checked the house and found where he had broken in. He had torn through the flyscreen on the window and reached around to open the sliding door."
Mrs Lipoth showed the photo to police who tracked the man down within 10 to 15 minutes.
North Shore police area commander Inspector Shanan Gray says a man matching the photo was found at an address around 1.5km from the scene.
He admitted to stealing around $8000 worth of jewellery from the house and later showed police where he had stashed his bounty in nearby bush, Mr Gray says.
"The victim is very appreciative. One of the pieces was a family heirloom belonging to his great-grandmother," he says.
Residents of Vienna Place have formed a tight-knit community, Mrs Lipoth says.
"Because we know the people so well we want to look out for them. It's really nice teamwork."
The thought she might be harmed by the intruder did not register until after the ordeal, she says.
"I just wanted to look out for my neighbours. The guy didn't look like someone that would pull a knife, he was quite young and just an average male."
Mrs Lipoth has lived at the address with her husband and two young girls for four years and says they have had few problems in the past.
"Just a couple of weeks ago my husband's car was stolen.
"It is quite a powerful, high-risk car so they'd just taken it for a joyride. Apart from that we've had no trouble."
A man is due to appear in the North Shore District Court for sentencing on November 13.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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