SNAP gets the better of burglars

ROSE CAWLEY
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014
SNAP
Simon Smith
SERIAL IMPORTANCE: Constable Lucy Catchpole displays the important serial number that can ensure stolen gear is returned to its owner. Pictured with her in the Ormiston Police Station evidence locker are, back from left: Constable Gurjot Dhiman, Sergeant Lyon Dunn, and constables Frankie Tai, John Book and Papaloa Talosaga.

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Recording the serial numbers of her valuables on a police database has saved one woman plenty of heartache.

The Auckland resident, who doesn’t want to be named, took photos of various goods and uploaded them to SNAP – the police Serial Number Asset Partnership scheme.

"One of the items we had just bought – a new laptop – and we put it on the day we got it," she says.

A thief raided her home four days later in broad daylight and stole the laptop and other valuables.

But an observant neighbour and neighbourhood support group member called police after noticing a suspicious vehicle and a man entering the property.

The thief was caught with the items in his car along with a pair of gloves but initially said it all belonged to a friend.

He admitted to the crime after the valuables were quickly identified through the database.

The victim says putting her valuables into SNAP saved her a lot of money.

"I would have been really annoyed because aside from the inconvenience, we’ve got insurance but you have to pay the excess and then the premiums go up."

She says the burglary could have left her with nothing but a sour taste in her mouth.

"You work to buy the things that you want in your house, you don’t expect someone to just come and help themselves to it.

"You feel a little bit like someone has taken over your house because they’ve just walked in – but at the same time you know that you’ve got a good street, that people have their eyes on the house – and we got our stuff back."

Police Inspector Wendy Spiller says the burglary shows how registering on the SNAP database can help lessen the blow if a burglary does occur.

"Many stolen items that are recovered can never be returned to their owners because they cannot be identified.

"We also recommend getting involved in a neighbourhood support group in your area. In this case it ensured that suspicious people were recognised and police were able to respond accordingly."

Go to snap.org.nz or ns.org.nz for information.

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- Eastern Courier

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