Burglary rings 'ripped off 200 homes' in Christchurch
A group of burglars booked a motel room under a false name and used it as a base to raid dozens of homes, police allege.
When investigators searched the rented room at Ferry Motel on Ferry Rd, Christchurch, they found tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen equipment.
Police allege the group is one of two prolific burglary rings they have dismantled in recent months that have been responsible for a "crime wave" of nearly 200 break-ins in greater Christchurch.
At least 10 people across the two groups have been arrested. They face a raft of charges, including participating in an organised criminal group.
READ MORE: Burglaries on the rise in Christchurch
"By taking these two groups out it's certainly meant a significant decrease [in burglaries] in the areas they've been working in," burglary investigator Detective Sergeant Ross Tarawhiti said.
The items stolen during the burglaries could total hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police had recovered about 15 per cent of them and were working to identify who they belonged to, Tarawhiti said.
Four alleged members of one of the groups – Sharn Robert Noble, 20, Tyson Red Gray, 20, Kieran Levi McGeorge, 20, and Alexander James McCormick, 26 – appeared in Christchurch District Court last week.
They faced almost 100 charges between them, including being part of an organised criminal group, burglary, fraud, car theft and arson.
Two other women were listed on court documents as being part of the criminal conspiracy, but were yet to appear in court on that charge.
Tarawhiti said the group, who called themselves the 74s, were arrested after police followed a stolen car to a Ferry Rd motel – understood to be Ferry Motel – on July 10.
Investigators searched a room connected to the occupants of the car and found a stash of stolen items, including power tools, electronic equipment and jewellery.
"One of them had [allegedly] hired the motel under a bogus name and used it as a base to go out and do what they were doing," he said.
Police believed the group was responsible for about 110 burglaries in Christchurch east, Rangiora and Kaiapoi in June and July.
"They were [allegedly] doing it [committing burglaries] any time they felt like it. They were stealing cars, driving to people's houses, ransacking them and then burning the cars."
Members of the other group, which was linked to about 80 burglaries, appeared in court this week charged with being part of an organised criminal group.
Police alleged Robert William Northe, a 30-year-old concrete worker, was responsible for many of the break-ins, which happened between February and May in the Christchurch suburbs of Bryndwr and Ilam.
Two women – Northe's sister Jasmine Susan Rakanui Northe, 31, and his girlfriend Janelle Christina Te Puia, 31 – allegedly arranged to sell the items he stole.
A fourth person, a man charged as being part of the criminal conspiracy, allegedly had "knowledge in relation to computer systems" and would "reformat" stolen laptops so they could be sold to his associates and "unsuspecting purchasers".
In May, Tarawhiti said burglary rates in Christchurch were among the highest he had seen in his 36 years in the police.
For the year ended June 30, 2017, police figures show there were 6278 burglaries reported in Christchurch, a 5.6 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
Burglaries hit a new high in January, with 20 a day reported to police.
Ferry Motel owner Mark Guo declined to comment.