Woman, kids sought over open home thefts
Police believe a woman and her two children have been stealing from open homes around West Auckland.
The trio are thought to have hit at least three properties last weekend, walking away with a slew of electronics and beauty products.
A Waitemata police spokeswoman said the use of children to commit crimes in this manner was rare and they were following "several strong lines of inquiry".
On Sunday, Tracy Foard had a handful of groups shown round her Massey home by a real estate agent.
It was only later that day she realised an iPod and limited-edition games console controllers were missing from drawers in the house.
Make-up and other electronics were also missing from her room.
She and the agent tried to contact the woman they believed was the suspect. The number she had left did not connect to a phone.
After speaking to other real estate companies it became apparent the woman and her two children had visited another open home nearby, straight after being shown around Foard's house.
Later the Massey resident was also contacted by an agent who said a woman with two children who was using the same name and a number which did not connect had been to a Henderson property, where items had gone missing.
Police said there was nothing new about stealing during open homes but the fact children had been allegedly involved made it very serious.
"Where there is evidence that children have been used to facilitate a crime, police will act accordingly, with measures that can include involving the Police Youth Aid section, or a referral to Child Youth and Family," a spokeswoman said.
Foard called on real estate associations to make it mandatory for people viewing homes to provide identification before they were let in the house.
Police advised anyone advertising or running an open home to be extra cautious about security, to keep a close eye on all attendees, and to ensure valuables were secure and out of sight.
Anyone who had recently had an open home in the Henderson or Massey areas who believed they may have had items stolen by attendees is urged to report the matter to the Massey police on 09 832 4099.