A Pukekohe family is furious with the police response after having their house looted five times in three weeks following a fire that left it uninhabitable.
Burglars gained access to the house in a range of ways, from bolt-cutting a lock off the garage door to climbing onto the roof and entering through a hole caused by the fire.
An investigation is ongoing into what started the fire on June 20, but the family suspects it has something to do with electrical wiring in the roof.
A devastated member of the family said the burglars “took everything we have ever worked for”.
Police were first notified on June 29 of a burglary at the address, which occurred between midday on June 25 and the time of reporting.
Inspector Joe Hunter, Area Commander for Counties Manukau South, said: “On 9 July, police were notified of three other incidents that were believed to have occurred at the address since the original complaint was made to police … As part of this report, CCTV footage was provided to police.”
The family, who wish to remain anonymous, explained that they were given the number of an employee at the Pukekohe Police Station to call after the first burglary in case it happened again.
Following the second, third and fourth burglaries, the family made multiple calls to this number, to which they received no reply.
A member of the Pukekohe family told the NZ Herald that they had no choice but to go to a neighbouring primary school and ask for CCTV footage of the area to personally provide the police.
“The school has been left hundreds of dollars out of pocket from scrolling through and requesting days of footage … all so I could do the police’s job for them,” they said.
The family went on to say “it was truly traumatic and infuriating to see people walking around our house and scoping out our property”.
They took the CCTV footage into the Pukekohe Police Station, where they saw an item of their stolen property which they had not been contacted about.
“A number of items were reported stolen from the garage at the address. One of these items was located by police, forensically examined and subsequently returned to the victim,” Hunter said.
At around midnight on July 10, police received a fifth report of possible suspicious activity at the address.
“Frontline staff attended shortly after and made inquiries in the area, as well as visiting the property. The property was found to be secure and no persons were located at the time,” Hunter said.
Police were unable to enter the house due to it being labelled a health and safety hazard after the fire.
A neighbour of the Pukekohe family advised them that the police had left the premises “when the offenders were still in there”.
“I completely understand that they can’t sit outside our house all day … I just wish they would’ve done their job better,” the family said.
In response to the family’s concerns, Hunter said: “We acknowledge these incidents would be incredibly frustrating for the victims involved, however they should be reassured that these incidents are actively being investigated.”
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