Residents at an Auckland retirement village are noticing a rise in random items being stolen from their front door steps.
Sentimental ornaments, a bird bath and a chair are just some of the items being taken late at night, a resident says.
The 76-year-old, who didn’t want to be named, says the burglaries have unsettled elderly residents at Elmwood Village in Manurewa.
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“It’s alarming knowing people are coming around and doing it,” he says.
“It is so random, not that the dollar value is high, but they’re items that are important to those people.”
The man says in one case items were taken from door steps on two consecutive nights at units near his own.
“They took a chair. Just one. They even had time to take the shoes off it and put them on the door step.”
He has also been a victim himself – a bird bath was taken as well as an ornament from overseas.
There were residents in other parts of the village that had items stolen, but hadn’t come forward, he says.
“Some of them are frightened … a lot of them are widows by themselves, about 78 or 79.”
He wanted to let others in the village and wider community that it was happening.
He was aware of similar occurrences in nearby neighbours of Randwick Park and Wattle Downs.
Counties Manukau Central prevention manager Inspector Adam Pyne says there has been a rise in opportunistic burglaries.
“It’s the things in the driveway or garden shed … the sort of items where they’re not breaking into the house, but taking them from outside the house,” he says.
Some stolen items had been located on a Facebook buy and sell page. But Pyne says there was insufficient evidence at that time to lay burglary charges.
However, he says that didn’t mean charges couldn’t be laid in the future.
Pyne says officers have visited the village, owned by Oceania Healthcare, to discuss the issue and to help “target harden” the village.
When approached for comment, manager Dee Douglas says the issue was being dealt with “in house”. She didn’t want to comment further, saying it was in the hands of police to deal with.