A bizarre crime spree near the Okato police station on the weekend has the town's policeman baffled.
Overnight on Friday thieves stole three cars, took batteries from two of them, broke into two other cars and also into a shed from which they pinched two bikes and a petrol can.
Okato senior constable Richard Corry said it was an unusual spate of thefts that would send Okato's crime statistics soaring.
''It's horrendous. It's a lot of crime for a year out here.''
The first car, a Holden Commodore, had been taken from where it was parked on Curtis St and driven about 50 metres on to Oxford Rd, near the police station.
The thieves ditched the car and turned their attention to an old Ford Laser which they drove further down Oxford Rd until it ran out of petrol.
They damaged the interiors of both cars and stole the batteries.
Next they broke into two cars at a Gossling St property before getting into the shed and taking two mountain bikes and a petrol can.
One of the bikes was found around the corner, and the other in the opposite direction on Carthew St where the third car was stolen.
The car, a Mazda MPV coloured green and gold, has not been found.
Corry said it was hard to say exactly when the thefts had happened.
The owners of Holden said they had seen their car still parked outside at 9am on Saturday morning, but a neighbour said his dog had woken him barking up a storm at 1:30am.
Corry, who lives behind the police station on Oxford St, said it was unfortunate he had put his own dog down last month.
''She'd have gone off. It never would've happened if she was there.''
He said he suspected the thieves were from out of town and did not know how busy the area was or where the police station was.
At least two people had to be involved, he said.
Corry could only speculate about the motivation of the thieves and their reasons for stealing car batteries.
''Either a), it could be that they've broken down and needed a battery, or b), they've taken them to sell for scrap metal.''
He said sometimes batteries were stolen to power electric fences around drug crops in the bush, but he said it seemed unlikely considering the season was over and batteries for those kind of operations were more often taken from tractors and farm machinery.
"It baffles me a lot. It's disturbing.
''They've gone to a lot of trouble to get those batteries. In the first car they've smashed the rear quarter right window and wrecked the ignition column and steering wheel.''
The thieves may have left fingerprints on the Holden and it was due to be forensically examined tomorrow, he said.
''Better I catch them than the owners of the car. I've got some extremely irate people out here.''
- If you have any information relating to this incident please contact senior constable Richard Corry on 06 7524111 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
- Taranaki Daily News
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