Burglary spree in Waikato
Thieves broke into two petrol stations early this morning targeting cigarettes destined for the black market, police say.
And commercial drivers may hold the key to tracking the perpetrators down, Senior Sergeant Andrew O'Reilly, of the Waikato District Command Centre, said.
The Mobil service station on Thames St in Morrinsville was hit first at 3am. O'Reilly said investigators believe they took cigarettes.
''Obviously it's early on in the investigation but anyone driving around the area in those hours - tanker drivers, delivery drivers - if they saw anything or noticed something suspicious if they could get in touch that would be much appreciated.''
The offenders went in through the front window. It was too early to say how many people were involved or how the escaped from the scene, O'Reilly said.
An hour and a half later the BP in Te Kuiti suffered the same treatment.
When officers arrived the front door was wide open and there were cigarettes scattered across the floor, O'Reilly said.
''So we know definitely that cigarettes were targetted. We're waiting on CCTV footage. Again, we've got tanker drivers and delivery workers down there. These people are our eyes and ears and if they want to do it anonymously.''
The Narrows Gold Club was burgled too, around 3.45am. O'Reilly cold not say what the intruders were after.
While it appears the crimes occurred in a neat line, consecutively, from Morrinsville to Te Kuiti, O'Reilly said there's no evidence to suggest the service station burglaries were linked.
''Cigarettes are a black market tradeable commodity so that's what the burglars are using them for.''
Meanwhile, a police dog and handler hunted down two men who allegedly burgled a fish and chip shop in Ngaruawahia this morning.
Officers responded to the scene about 4am.
It took the dog 90 minutes to sniff out the men and they were due to appear in the Hamilton District Court today.
Anyone with information on the cigarette burglaries can call Hamilton Central Police Station on 07-858-6200 or contact the independent Crimestoppers on 0800-555-111.