Stolen goods from Dunedin are being sold through
international websites, which victims and police are using to
track down culprits.
Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said Dunedin buy, swap and sell
pages on the social networking website Facebook were among
those being used by criminals.
Police were investigating accordingly.
"It appears to be the latest trend in trading or selling
stolen gear quickly and cheaply," she said.
But while the internet was a quick and easy tool for
offenders, it also gave victims an opportunity to find
Snr Sgt Aitken said victims of theft were often the first
people to inform police about locating stolen items online.
"They are quick to get on board and search for gear that they
may have had taken from them.
"Tracking down the seller of stolen property in recent days
has led to at least two positive recoveries of property," she
Facebook posed more problems for police than other internet
trading sites used in New Zealand, Snr Sgt Aitken said.
"It is a definite concern to police as Facebook has no
parameters or controls on illegal activity, as opposed to
Trade Me which is quick to shut down dealers in stolen gear,"
About 6000 people were listed as members of Facebook page
"Dunedin buy sell and trade", labelled as a closed group on
Those with Facebook profiles could request to join the group
free of charge.
A further 2700 people were members of three similar Facebook
Snr Sgt Aitken said the websites were predominantly used by
people with a legitimate interest in selling or buying goods,
but it was a case of buyer beware.
"If the price of something looks too good to be true, then it
probably is. If the seller is after a quick sale, then the
item is likely to be hot [stolen]," she said.
Those found to have bought stolen items risked being charged
with receiving stolen property.