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Police are urging residents to keep their sheds and vehicles locked following an increase in the theft of tools and other items over the past few months.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said police had been notified of many incidents in Dunedin and Mosgiel where offenders were breaking into garages and cars, using mobile phones as a light source.
A man was seen walking up and down Henderson St using his mobile phone light to look into cars in Dunedin earlier this week.
He was confronted by residents and left the area.
At 2am on Monday, a 25-year-old man was seen in Princes St and used his mobile phone light to help break into an old building.
Snr Sgt Dinnissen said the man told police he was in the building to "see how it was looking" because he used to work there.
The man was given a pre-charge warning for being unlawfully in a building.
Snr Sgt Dinnissen said garden tools, chainsaws, scrap metal and other common items found in garages were being stolen and sold through social media pages.