Hunting rifle theft

Tuatapere police are investigating the theft of a hunting rifle from a vehicle at Rarakau Lodge.

The bolt-action rifle was stolen after one of the vehicle's windows was smashed.

Senior Constable Graham Parsons said the theft happened on Sunday night.

The owner of the vehicle and a friend were staying at the Rarakau Lodge at the end of the Papatotara Coast Rd, while hunting in the area.

"They had secured their firearms in the locked vehicle and despite being only about 10 metres away in the lodge, woke in the morning to find a window smashed and rifle taken," Parson said.

There were other items in the vehicle but only the Tikka T3 stainless bolt action rifle with black synthetic stock and three-round detachable magazine was targeted, he said.

The calibre is 7mm-08. The rifle also has a scope with a torch mounted on the top for night shooting along with a suppressor on the muzzle, which has a neoprene cover over it.

The theft of the hunting rifle follows the burglary of a cache of guns at Taramoa, also in Western Southland, this month.

Thieves entered a building on a rural property and broke into a safe.

They stole eight firearms, including seven shotguns between 12 and 20 gauge, and a large amount of shotgun ammunition.

The total value of the guns and ammunition was about $14,000.

Police scene of crime officers attended the burglary and items of interest were seized for analysis.

Senior Constable Kelvin Templeton, of Riverton, said it was a concern police had not yet found the guns.

It was most likely the thieves would try and sell the guns.

"I don't think there is any sinister reason for the theft."

Police said the theft of the guns was an important reminder of the need for gun owners to adequately secure their firearms when they were away from their home.

Anyone with any information on either theft or the whereabouts of the stolen firearms should contact the Tuatapere police station (03) 226 9003, or Riverton police station (03) 234 7070. 

The Southland Times