Thieves hone in on avocados and radar guns

WBOP area prevention manager acting inspector Phil Gillbanks

Avocados and speed radar detection guns are at the top of the list for thieves in the wider Western Bay of Plenty.

WBOP area prevention manager acting Inspector Phil Gillbanks says while the theme of the thefts are distinctive, they are also very different to each other.

“Large quantities of avocados are being stolen from grower’s trees and sheds across the wider WBOP area.

“This is predominantly happening in rural areas such as Te Puna, Wairoa and Katikati, but we’re also hearing about cases in Te Puke.”

He says avocado thefts happen quite frequently throughout the year, but predominantly more through the winter months.

“This is a huge problem at the moment, there’s definitely a market for them, they are being targeted and we are at a loss as to why.

“We’ve previously heard of offenders who will come from as far as South Auckland and target the Western Bay.”

He says a majority of the offending has occurred close to roadsides at night, with some also occuring during the day.

“Thieves will even wear high visibility clothing in an attempt to appear legitimate in their activities.”

Phil says speed radar detection guns are also being taken.

“There’s more of these being taken this year. Offenders are on foot taking these items, but they’re also using vehicles – there’s no theme to the offending.

“Public carparks are quite bad, but the thefts are also happening on roadsides. Offenders are breaking vehicle windows to gain access and targeting these items as they are often left clearly visible attached to the windscreen or dashboard of the vehicle.”

He asks owners of radar detection devices to place the item out of sight and remove them from the vehicle when it is not in use.

“Anyone who observes any suspicious activity or has any information regarding who is taking these items or whom may be involved in the sale or receiving of these items please contact your local Police Station.

“Alternatively, you can make an anonymous report through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”


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