Thieving double-act preys on vulnerable in rest homes
Police are looking for two young men they believe are responsible for a spate of brazen thefts and burglaries targeting the elderly.
It is suspected the duo have stolen thousands of dollars of cash and electronic equipment from at least seven rest homes in Oamaru, Dunedin, Invercargill and Cromwell since May 15.
They may have committed crimes further north and investigators in Christchurch have been alerted about their alleged activity, police said.
"These people could be transient and living anywhere," Detective Sergeant Stu Harvey said.
The pair had scoped out the rest homes before burgling. They spoke to staff and made up stories about why they were there.
"[It appears they are] reasonably experienced in this sort of stuff and there's a bit of subterfuge involved," Harvey said.
"Normally they are trying to find a friend or they are looking for somebody."
Harvey said the offending was very unusual.
"All burglaries and thefts are serious, but the people they are targeting are ... quite vulnerable."
Police had released CCTV footage of the pair in the hope they could be identified.
The first suspect was described as Maori, aged about 20, with black hair and a tidy appearance. He was on crutches and wore a moon boot but police were unsure whether it was a genuine injury.
The second was described as Maori, aged about 18, with short black hair.
The thefts were from Osborne House Rest Home, Fulton Home, Iona Home, Dunstan Hospital, Ripponburn Hospital and Home, Cargill Rest Home and Rowena Jackson Rest Home.
The Southland Times