Victims sleep through thefts
Manawatu residents are being warned to secure their homes at night or risk waking up to an empty house after a spike in brazen burglaries in which thieves have sneaked through windows left open because of the hot weather.
There were 25 burglaries in Feilding last month, an increase of 15 per cent, but Sergeant Grant Lawton said the worrying trend was the rise in burglaries at homes where people were asleep.
The hot, humid weather experienced in Manawatu in the past few weeks meant people had been leaving windows open more during the day and night, giving burglars extra opportunity to get into the house, he said.
In one such burglary on Saturday night, the thief broke into a house through a bathroom window, which was left open only slightly, he said.
Burglars were not just taking small items and leaving through the window, they were taking televisions out through the front door.
"They have done it that often it doesn't faze them," he said.
No-one had confronted any burglars yet, and Mr Lawton urged people not to do so.
"I would hate to think what sort of reaction they would get if they did confront them."
The burglaries were not limited to one area of town, but most took place centrally, he said.
Items targeted included electronics and alcohol.
People with motocross bikes had also been targeted and their bikes taken.
Manawatu District Neighbourhood Support organiser Allan Muntz said he had been reinforcing the message about safety stays for windows in the last two or three of his member notices.
If people were sleeping in the house with the window open, they needed at least one stay on the window, but if they were away from the house with the windows open they should have two, he said.
Just one could be twisted and the window could be popped open.
Palmerston North Acting Senior Sergeant Phil Ward said the city had not seen the same rise in burglaries, but there had been a spike after Christmas as people came home from their holidays and reported break-ins that had happened while they were away.
However, there had been an increase in opportunist burglaries.
On two separate occasions last week, two homes were burgled while their owners were outside, one mowing the lawn, the other gardening.
Thieves had taken advantage of their distraction and entered the house while it was unsecured, he said.
Small items including wallets and iPods were taken.
Anyone with information related to the burglaries can call Feilding police on 06 323 6363, or Palmerston North on 06 351 3600.