Vandals hit 50 cars in smashing spree

Vandals on smashing sprees have broken windows on nearly 50 vehicles around Nelson.

Nelson police have described it as "pure vandalism," saying it is a much higher than usual number.

Nelson Auto Glass said it has seen about 15-20 cars for repair work on broken body glass in the past few days, which was "just not normal". "The cars have been left parked on the side of the road overnight and this is what happened."

Richmond Glass has also seen about 15 cars for the same reason in the past few days.

John Blight, branch manager of Smith and Smith, which has repaired around 30 car windows, said the number of repairs needed to body glass was a significant increase.

"It's the door glass on the driver's side, which would tell me it's a drive-by," said Mr Blight, who added a few back windows have also been broken.

The three auto glass repair companies spoken to said the incidents appear to be occurring overnight in central Nelson.

The cost of repairing a broken window ranges from $60 to $300.

Sergeant Craig Barker, of the Nelson Police Tactical Crime Unit, said the 49 incidents that have reported since the beginning of the year was "way higher" than normal. He said the incidents "look to be pure vandalism", as owners typically had not reported anything stolen.

Mr Barker said the damage has mainly occurred in the central Nelson area, but some has been reported in Richmond and Motueka.

While he acknowledged it may be impractical for some car owners, the best way to protect a car was to keep it off the road.

"It looks to be cars parked on the roadside. The best thing they can do is put their car on the property," he said.

Anyone with information relating to these incidents is urged to call Sergeant Craig Barker at Nelson police on 03 546 3840.

The Nelson Mail