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Medals return home

CARALISE TRAYES
Last updated 05:00 28/01/2014
Medals returned

IRREPLACEABLE MEDALS: Paul Redman gets his Navy awards back from Sergeant Jason Homan. Constable Amy Lenssen, rear, was also involved in the medals’ recovery after they were reported stolen just before Christmas.

Service medals
RETRIEVED: These service medals were returned.

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Burglary victim Paul Redman never thought he'd see his navy medals again.

So he was thrilled when police contacted him to say they'd been recovered with a huge haul of stolen property at Arkles Bay.

A January 12 search of the address followed a tip-off and resulted in the arrest of three men in connection with a spate of burglaries over the last seven months.

The men were due to appear in the North Shore District Court late last week.

Police say it took several days to sort out where the bulk of the items came from.

Much of it has been linked to break-ins across Whangaparaoa and the North Shore, including the homes of Mr Redman and Dianne Watson of Albany.

Mr Redman says his house was burgled on December 20 when he went out for two hours to do the last of his Christmas shopping.

"They took all our jewellery, laptops, back-up drivers and computers and went through drawers searching for cash. I had left my computer on when I went out, so that was the first thing I noticed that was taken when I got home."

Also of high sentimental value were medals awarded to Mr Redman for his service to the navy from 1971 to 1999.

"One of them was a long-service medal, others were operational medals and an American medal," he says.

"I served in the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC for just over three years. I was liaising with the US Navy.

"I'm very happy to get them back - they are irreplaceable."

Unfortunately, not everything stolen from the couple was found.

"We are still missing some jewellery, like my grandma's engagement ring which she wore for more than 50 years," Ms Watson says.

Old collector's coins have also been recovered.

Police are looking for the owners and ask them to phone Constable Aimee Lenssen at the Orewa police on 09 426 4555.

"It is truly unbelievable and despicable that on a number of occasions an elderly person in their 90s appears to have been targeted and had some really sentimental items stolen," Sergeant Jason Homan says. "We are very pleased to be able to return some of these items and offer some comfort to this victim."

Mr Homan says there have been several cases where people have seen someone acting suspiciously yet waited to call the police.

"Call us at the time if you see something happening that you think isn't quite right," he says.

"We would rather attend a hundred false alarms than risk not catching anyone at all."

Police also urge homeowners to lock houses and cars and turn on burglar alarms.

You can also share information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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