Residents of a North Shore neighbourhood have fallen victim to a frightening late-night crime spree that saw vehicles stolen and streets of cars smashed late on Sunday night.
Hillcrest locals woke up to a trail of destruction, finding glass and debris all over the road after more than 10 cars had been damaged across a number of streets.
Police confirmed the neighbourhood had been hit by burglary and thefts, and that a number of vehicles had been stolen during the late-night spree.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald he woke up to loud bangs and saw a group of what looked like young people smashing up his car.
“I was fast asleep and suddenly woke up to loud thuds. It was so loud I thought someone was breaking into my house,” the victim said.
“I jumped up out of bed and opened my window and saw a bunch of people around my car.
“I shouted ‘what are you little f***ers doing’. Then they just scarpered.
“They had two cars parked across the road. They ran across and jumped in. I ran outside to catch a glimpse. There were at least three or four people.
“They had smashed the windows and were stomping on the windscreen. They had been inside the car checking it out, looking for anything to steal. They weren’t trying to be quiet about it.”
On Monarch Ave, a resident had seen at least eight cars smashed up with glass left all over the roads.
One local who witnessed the aftermath said: “Everything that didn’t have value had been thrown out in the middle of the road”.
In footage obtained by the Herald, a row of damaged cars on Speedy Cres could be seen with multiple smashed windows and debris scattered over the road.
Waitematā East Police Area Prevention Manager Callum McNeill told the Herald eight people were caught.
“Overnight on Sunday, the Police Air Support Unit, Eagle, observed two vehicles believed to be involved in this offending heading to the Mt Wellington area.
“Eagle directed ground staff to an address where eight people were located. One of those apprehended is currently before the North Shore District Court on charges relating to the offending.
“Seven others located by police will be referred to Youth Aid.
Police have recovered two stolen vehicles and a range of other stolen property.
McNeill said police “have not seen a significant increase in these reports in this area”.
However, a number of Hillcrest locals and residents in neighbouring suburbs claim they have had their cars broken into recently.
According to a Hillcrest resident, two cars were broken into on Eban Ave last week.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald vandals came in two vehicles with a number of people around midnight.
Another man was targeted in the nearby suburb of Northcote just a day before while parked on Kauri Glen Rd.
He said it felt like there had been a spate of break-ins over the past couple of weeks.
“My windows were smashed three nights ago. There was nothing to steal in there, nothing attractive to steal.
“They did it to another car in front of me as well. It’s a nightmare. The driver’s side lock is buggered and the back window was smashed. It took hours just to clean up the mess.
“I was livid. I live paycheque to paycheque and it is a massive disruption and added stress.
“It’s clear to see it’s systematically done. They clearly do this for a living. You never know when they’re going to strike again. That is the worst part.”
McNeill has encouraged locals to remove any valuables from vehicles and suggested using a steering lock to deter criminals.
He asks the community to be vigilant and not to hesitate to contact police to report any suspicious behaviour.
“In many cases police find opportunistic offenders will target a number of parked vehicles in close proximity to each other.
“We encourage our community to try and prevent themselves from being easy targets.
“One way is to remove any valuables from your vehicle, including items of clothing that might give the impression something is being hidden.
“Another way is to use a steering lock or to install vehicle immobilisers.
“Police remind our communities to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately, by calling 111.”
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