Trio suspected of motel thefts
A spate of thefts at Southland accommodation providers is "unnerving", the Southland Motel Association president says.
Police are investigating a series of thefts of cash and other items from local motels and bed and breakfasts and want to identify a car and its trio of occupants. The two female occupants are described as Maori, aged between 20 and 25, and of large build, police said.
Southland Motel Association president David O'Brien said he had been contacted by several association members, who had been victims of the thefts.
It appeared the offenders distract the owners and managers by asking to look around while another stayed in the office to look at brochures or said they needed to use the toilet, Mr O'Brien said.
He said he had contacted the association's national body, which had put out a warning to motels throughout the country about the incident and urging people to vigilant.
Motels and bed and breakfasts were often small businesses and worked hard for their money, he said.
Thefts happened from time to time, as in any business.
"Sometime you get strange people coming in, so you are aware of them, that's not to say that 99 per cent of other people are not excellent."
Any moteliers or B&B operators approached by this group were advised to contact police.
The Southland Times