Police urge residents to secure valuables

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 06:26 17/01/2014

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Hutt Valley

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A thief has been taking advantage of summertime to steal from elderly people's unlocked homes while they garden.

Hutt Valley police have warned residents enjoying the warmer weather to be vigilant about securing valuables after a string of thefts. Police said they had received dozens of reports of items such as wallets, handbags and jewellery being snatched from houses around the Hutt Valley since October.

The victims were often home and the thefts fitted a pattern that suggested they were 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 valuables went missing.

When found on people's properties, the man may have covered his intent by asking for directions, Mr Hill said. Police urged residents to be vigilant about securing their valuables even if they were within view 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."

Police wanted information from victims of thefts fitting that pattern who may have seen a man driving a Subaru station-wagon in the Hutt area.

CATCH A THIEF

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

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