Theft of rescue gear 'frustrating'

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 12:58 23/04/2014

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Lower Moutere's Whenua Iti Outdoors was hit by burglars over Easter but police caution that it is unlikely to be the spate some locals have suggested.

Burglars forced entry to the outdoor education centre's office and hall and made off with about $15,000 worth of electronics overnight on Thursday, said general manager Mark Bruce-Miller.

He said the loot included computers, emergency locator beacons and marine radios.

Although he expects insurance to cover most of the losses, it was frustrating that the thieves took items that would have little value to anyone else, such as external hard drives and locator beacons that are registered to the centre.

He doubted there was a black market for rescue gear such as that.

"I can't imagine why anyone would buy one because they have to be registered with Search and Rescue."

He said that following the burglary to the Upper Moutere Store a week before, "it is time for people to be more vigilant".

In that burglary, the owner saw thieves fleeing with tobacco and cigarettes about 5am on April 11. ]

He called police, who were soon also called by the residents of a house about a kilometre north on the Moutere Highway.

The thieves had crashed their stolen car outside his house and then escaped on foot. Constable Nick Kempthorne, of Nelson, said the burglars were tracked by police dogs but the trail was lost.

He said he could understand why burglaries to two high-profile businesses in a small community might prompt talk of a spate.

But police were "pretty sure" the two events were not connected.

And police knew of no other recent burglaries in the Moutere.

"I wouldn't call it a spate," he said.

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