Thieves target car stereos, gadgets

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2013

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A gang of offenders is believed to be responsible for a spate of car burglaries in Invercargill.

Four cars were burgled on Wednesday night, taking the total number of vehicles burgled to 22 this month.

South Invercargill resident Selena McKay, whose car was burgled on Wednesday night, said the incident left her "p..... off"'.

"It is a real invasion of personal space," she said. "I don't want to get into my car after this."

Her stereo and CDs were stolen.

"The stereo was worth more than my car," she said.

Southland area manager prevention, Inspector Olaf Jensen, said police suspected it was the same group of offenders.

Windows had been smashed in some of the cars with thieves targeting stereos and electrical items, Mr Jensen said.

The offenders have been active across Invercargill.

"We suspect the offenders are using a vehicle to get around while committing the burglaries," he said.

Senior Constable Ross Goble, who was conducting a scene investigation at one of the burglary sites yesterday, said it took only seconds for a car to be burgled.

Offenders could gain access very quickly even if the car was locked, Mr Goble said.

However, many people were making it even easier for thieves by leaving their vehicles unlocked.

"It is surprising how many people don't secure their vehicle. Almost one third of vehicle burglaries reported are from an unlocked car," he said.

The best way for an owner to stop their car being a target for burglars was to lock it, and also remove any valuable items and if possible retract the stereo, he said. Stereos, GPS devices and iPods were popular items for thieves.

Police encouraged anyone who witnessed suspicious activity around parked cars late at night to report it.

"If you hear a noise go and have a look," Mr Goble said.

Meanwhile Mr Jensen said a spike in burglaries in the CBD and industrial area had slowed.

Police had made an arrest on unrelated matters and the offending had appeared to have stopped, he said.

However, it was still too early to put that arrest down to the burglaries, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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