Ram raid: Five youths arrested, 3 charged, after Birkenhead burglary

Five youths have been arrested after a North Shore bottle store was the target of a ram raid; one of many incidents in recent months which have seen thieves cause widespread damage amongst the country’s businesses.

Eight different Michael Hill Jeweller businesses have been struck across the North Island, while Stirling Sports in Cambridge has been hit many times over several years.

The five teenagers, aged between 13 and 15, arrived at Liquorland Birkenhead on Mokoia Rd in two different vehicles about 3am Monday morning.

One of the stolen vehicles was used to smash their way inside, where a police spokesperson said “a quantity of alcohol” was taken before they all fled in the second vehicle.

However, the car was found shortly afterwards by police and then monitored from the air by the Eagle chopper.

The vehicle was followed until it was eventually stopped by police in Royal Oak and all of the occupants were arrested.

“Three youths, aged between 13 and 15, are appearing in the Youth Court on charges including burglary.

“Two other youths have been referred to Youth Aid,” the spokesperson said.

The incident had infuriated locals who posted on social media that their actions had caused “thousands of dollars” worth of damage for just a few hundred dollars worth of alcohol.

The incident was one of many burglaries, many which included offenders using vehicles to gain entry into shops, not only around Auckland but the North Island.

A tractor was used to smash into the PioPio Superette about 10 days ago. Despite causing several thousand dollars worth of damage, the thieves fled empty handed.

And two highly sought-after bikes, along with a large amount of clothing, were stolen from Scotty Browns bike shop in Christchurch during a ram raid earlier this month.

One resident commented that the Bottle-O on the Albany Highway was also struck by ram raid last week, while Michael Hill Jewellers has now been struck eight times by burglars after its Whakatāne store had a white flat-deck ute driven through it overnight Monday.

That incident is believed to be linked to several other incidents around the wider Bay of Plenty and possibly a ram raid in Hamilton.

Camera footage of the Whakatāne incident showed two offenders, who had concealed their identities, using a tomahawk to smash the store’s glass cabinets and making off with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

When questioned about the apparent increasing number of ram raids around the country, the police spokesperson said they took ram raids “seriously”.

“We work hard to investigate each incident and identify those involved so they can be held to account.

“We know these incidents are very tough for victims, some of whom are struggling to get by and these incidents create further financial strain and stress.”

Asked what business owners could do to help protect themselves, police supported any form of security measures to help it being a target.

“Bollards are a really helpful deterrent for victims of ram raid incidents.

“Other prevention measures can include fog cannons, good quality CCTV and alarm systems.”

The Birkenhead Liquorland manager declined to comment and referred Herald queries to Liquorland’s head office.

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