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Caltex Paeroa manager Paul Milner says the latest break-in is “frustrating”. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

‘Here we go again’

High-quality security cameras recorded a smash-and-grab crime at Caltex Paeroa, and within 20 minutes of watching the tape, Police had nabbed the suspects.
Four youths were arrested after a burglary at the service station around 5.10am on August 14. It is suspected the same youths were allegedly involved in another break-in at One3One Restaurant an hour earlier.
Caltex Paeroa manager Paul Milner told The Profile his initial reaction was: “Here we go again”.
Three-and-a-half years ago, offenders broke into the service station seeking cigarettes but were unsuccessful, he said. Around six years ago, his staff were also targeted in an armed hold-up. “So, it is good that it happened when no one was here, because if you’re here and you come across them, that’s another problem,” he said.
In last week’s break-in, one of the front windows of the service station was smashed and the contents of till drawers were stolen, as well as snacks, including chocolate bars and beef jerky. Local security drove past the scene around 5.30am, noticed the damage, and called Police. Paul said within 20 minutes of officers watching the footage, the alleged offenders were in the back of a cop car.
“It’s frustrating more than anything,” he said. “The cost just to replace the piece of glass is $3500… and it’s those nice-to-haves that miss out; we’ve had to cut our sponsorship back to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter,” he said.
“It is limited to a small group of people but they are people who, over one night, can wreck a lot of stuff.”
Ideally, the outcome would be for the offenders to “pay for what they broke”, he said.
The security system helped a lot in catching the alleged thieves, who didn’t get far, he said. One was even caught with his pants dropping to his ankles as he fled the scene.
However, Paul was considering strengthening his security even further. “It doesn’t matter what shop gets broken into, it affects everybody,” he said.
Police confirmed there were two burglaries in Paeroa in the early hours of August 14, and four youths were arrested near the scene shortly afterward with property stolen in the burglaries in their possession. Two of them have been charged and were expected to appear in the Waihī Youth Court on August 18.