Car wheels targeted in recent spate of thefts

Police say a rash of car wheel thefts on the West Coast may be linked to a similar crime wave in Canterbury, where they believe wheels are being stolen to order.

Two vehicles in the Greymouth area had their wheels stolen last weekend, following similar thefts early last week.

A late model Lexus parked at an Ashley Dr property at Paroa was stripped of two of its high-spec alloy wheels some time after 12.30am on Saturday. It had been parked up the driveway at the property at the time.

Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Watson, of Greymouth police, said it appeared the thieves had attempted to steal the other two wheels, but had been disturbed and left the scene. Police had recovered jacks they were using, and these were now subject to forensic testing.

On Sunday night a red BMW parked on a Jacks Rd property at Paroa was jacked up and all four of its 20-inch deep dish chrome rims with black centres were stolen.

That theft occurred some time after 9pm and before 7.30am yesterday.

Snr Sgt Watson urged any residents or passersby in the area over the weekend who had seen or heard something suspicious to report it to police.

Thefts of expensive alloy rims to order, along with other vehicle components, had re-emerged in Canterbury and vehicle owners on the West Coast needed to take the precaution of installing relatively inexpensive locking nuts.

On the night of Sunday August 26, a Toyota four-wheel-drive stolen from a Marsden Road address and found burned out the following day above the Arorangi Reserve had had its wheels removed prior to the fire, while a rental car left at the Hokitika Airport was also found that Monday jacked up and with all four wheels removed.

Anyone with information on the spate of wheel thefts, should call Greymouth police directly, or anonymously via Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111. 

 - Brendon McMahon

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