Warning to travellers on car thefts

MYLES HUME
Last updated 05:00 22/08/2014

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Holidaymakers and rebuild workers are being warned against leaving their vehicles on streets surrounding Christchurch Airport after a spike in thefts.

Sergeant Brian Kench, of Christchurch Police, said 11 vehicles had been stolen from streets near the airport this month.

Victims had left their cars for long periods, including one who was away for more than a month, he said.

The spike, which includes a string of thefts from cars, has prompted the airport to remind motorists of off-street parking options.

Kench said there had been an increase in workers flying out of Christchurch at weekends since the earthquakes, and believed some of them could be opening themselves to theft. "If contractors are working and then leaving their vehicles with thousands of dollars of tools in them on the streets, then I suggest they find a better location to park their vehicle."

Nissan and Toyota vehicles made up nine of the 11 thefts. Four vehicles were stolen from a Toyota storage yard on Logistics Drive, where thieves removed a temporary fence to gain access.

"We have since increased patrols, especially in those areas mentioned around Memorial Ave, near the Russley Golf Club, Peter Leeming Rd and also Logistics Drive," Kench said.

Police made an arrest last week for three thefts from vehicles and some of those stolen had since been recovered. "There's a possibility that some of these could be linked, but I think there is probably opportunity for opportunist-type theft in that location," he said.

He urged precautions such as locking vehicles, moving valuables out of sight and alternatives to on-street parking.

A Christchurch Airport spokeswoman said there was a range of secure parking options, including the new low-cost EconoPark created in response to public feedback.

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- The Press

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