Thief stealing from unlocked homes

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 16:19 16/01/2014

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Hutt Valley

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Hutt Valley police are hunting a thief who has been taking advantage of the summer climate to steal from elderly people's unlocked homes while they garden.

Police have warned residents enjoying the warmer weather to be vigilant about securing valuables following a string of thefts.

They had received dozens of reports of items like wallets, handbags and jewellery snatched from people's houses around the Hutt Valley since October.

The victims were often home and the thefts fit a pattern that suggested they were likely the work of one person, Hutt Valley Area Commander Inspector Mike Hill, said.

Many of the reports had come from older people who had been outdoors gardening with doors and windows open at the time their items went missing, he said.

When found on people's properties, the man may have covered his intent by asking for directions.

Police urged residents to be vigilant about securing their valuables even if they were within sight of their home.

''We're just trying to remind people to lock the front door when they're in the back garden and to be suspicious and cynical of those people who come to you asking how to get to some place or saying, 'I've lost my dog,' '' Mr Hill said.

Police wanted information from victims of thefts fitting the pattern who may have seen a male offender believed to have been driving a Subaru station wagon around the Hutt Valley area.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact Hutt Valley Police on 04 560 2600 or can make an anonymous tip with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- The Dominion Post

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