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Senior Sergeant Dean Harker said about 80 per cent of vehicles that have had items stolen from them in the Selwyn district over the past few months have been unlocked.
Harker said the number of vehicles being targeted by thieves, and stolen, has become more noticeable.
He estimates there have been more than 30 thefts recently.
He said they are happening across the district but the areas being hit the most are Rolleston, Lincoln and West Melton.
Said Harker: “We had a spate of them in Lincoln and we had a spate in Rolleston. That’s probably in the last couple of months.
“If they [thieves] know that it’s easy pickings in one area, they’ll keep going back there.”
However, he said “anything of value” is generally targeted by thieves.
The thieves are striking mostly in the early hours of the morning, targeting vehicles parked on streets, in driveways, and in car parks.
“I went to one of the car parks by the [Rolleston] police station probably two or three weeks ago and there were probably a dozen cars that had their windows down.
“A couple of those had radar detectors, one of them actually had a cellphone on the dashboard,” Harker said.
Radar detectors have been targeted by thieves, he said.