Green-thumbed thieves target garages

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 05:00 09/12/2013

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Police are urging homeowners to lock up their garden sheds after arresting a man they allege had a hand in a "green-thumbed" ring responsible for a spate of thefts.

Weedeaters, lawnmowers and wheelbarrows were among the goods reported missing by Hutt Valley residents after a spate of burglaries around the Lower Hutt suburb of Epuni.

A 51-year-old man appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court last week, charged with the burglaries, along with 18 charges related to class A and B drugs offences.

He was remanded in custody and is due to reappear in court later this month.

Lower Hutt Senior Sergeant Steve Harwood said more arrests could be expected as police believed there were several people involved in the burglaries.

Police had grown concerned after the gardening equipment and tools, as well as bikes, fishing rods and sports equipment, were reported stolen from Epuni residents' garages.

Examinations at each property established a clear pattern where the burglar got in through windows and slid the glass from the frame. In other cases, burglars gained entry by force or when a shed or garage was left unlocked.

Harwood said many of the garden appliances stolen had been "high-end" brands. Police had recovered several items, which they would be able to return to their owners.

He encouraged people to lock their garages and sheds, and ensure windows were secure. "Although people take the time to lock and secure their houses, it's also worth locking your shed . . . the stuff that's in there is often quite valuable."

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- The Dominion Post

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