A smash and grab break-in at Tamahere Four Square at the weekend – the fifth in four months – is as disheartening as it gets for the shop owners.
Owner Jassie Parmar said the smash and grabs started in June with three in quick succession.
The fifth at 1am on Saturday, like the rest, involved a window being smashed followed by several gloved and hooded people entering the store, quickly grabbing what they could and exiting in around three minutes – the time it took a burglar alarm to be activated.
Jassie and husband Satish Parmar live locally and can be quickly on the scene.
The store’s security cameras record events but have been no help in identifying the thieves – of which there were eight in the latest break in.
The most serious theft was of laptop and tablet computers, one was of ice blocks and yet another was a box that contained discarded items. A small amount of cash has been stolen because the Parmars keep little cash in the store overnight and empty the store of cigarettes, a hot burglary item. Wine and beer has also been stolen.
“It’s mostly a nuisance and very frustrating,” said an angry but resigned Jassie who believes the thieves are young kids under 20.
“It’s happening everywhere. It’s a wide problem.”
Police attended earlier burglaries but not the most recent one, she said.
“The issue is we are too far away from any police station. It’s isolated here at night. Police patrols might help and so might more awareness among the community,” she said.
The Parmars believe their only answer is to barricade the shop with garage-type roller doors.
Tamahere councillor Aksel Bech said he felt for the Parmars who offered a welcome service in the community particularly in Covid-19 lockdown when people were encouraged to shop locally.
Progress was underway to erect CCTV cameras for the public spaces around the commercial area, prompted by the boy racer problem in the area and the theft of playground equipment. The cameras should be able to record car number plates, which may be of some help in other crime detection.
“I am very sorry they feel the need to resort to roller doors,” he said of the Parmar’s solution.
“We no longer have community policing and patrols swinging by but I’ll be happy to ask what the police can do about that,” he said.
“I’m not sure what the response will be.”
A good relationship had been established between the council and the dedicated police unity dealing with boy racers, Bech said.