A couple is angry they had to catch a suspected burglar because police wouldn't respond quickly enough to a break-in at their home.
Melissa Skurr and JC Anderson arrived home late last Monday morning to find their Aranui home had been broken into and a laptop, hard drive, a PlayStation 3 console and a gaming laptop were stolen. An attempt had been made to also steal a quad bike from the garage.
Ms Skurr called 111 and reported the burglary and told police she feared the offenders would return to get the quad bike, which was sitting in the driveway. But police said they could not attend for 48 hours.
The couple decided they had to take the law into their own hands.
Ms Skurr parked her car across the road and Mr Anderson hid in his car on their section.
Two hours later, Ms Skurr watched a youth walk along Breezes Rd with a pair of gloves and up her driveway.
She texted Mr Anderson saying someone was coming.
"It was a crazy plan but we had to try it," she said.
Said Mr Anderson: "I saw him starting to push the quad bike out of our driveway and waited until he turned around. I ran up behind him and leaped onto him and tackled him to the ground. He was wriggling, trying to get away. He wriggled free and ran up the driveway. I chased after him.,"
The suspect, a 17-year-old, ran across the road towards Ms Skurr.
" I turned my car on and put it in reverse. I tried to slow him down. He ran off in a different direction so I used my car to chase him. I trapped him in-between a storage container and called police. My partner tackled him again and held him on the ground until they arrived," she said.
Police arrived about 5-10mins later .
Said Mr Anderson: "He was crying and saying 'don't get me arrested, I'm only 17, I know where your laptop is. I'll get your laptop back if you don't call the police'.
"He said he didn't do the burglary but he was told by the people who did to go back and get the quad bike.," he said.
Ms Skurr said she was angry and frustrated with the inital police response.
"It felt like the burglary wasn't seen as a priority. The police need to be more on to it when it comes to burglaries. I was surprised that we caught him. It's pretty shocking when you think about it. We had to take the situation into our own hands. We were determined to catch them and we had to do something. I don't think he expected to be caught. We cornered him and my partner, JC Anderson, tackled him to the ground and held him there until the police arrived. I was angry with how my complaint was dealt with. That's the police's job and we did it for them."
Police defended attending the complaint and advised members of the public to not apprehend an offender if they see one on their property. Detective Inspector Greg Murton said burglaries are prioritised based on the urgency of the situation. "Police do not report response times for burglaries. The majority are attended by scene of crime officers. Any fingerprints or DNA hits are immediately followed up. Police actively target areas where burglaries are occurring and target active offenders."
Detective Inspector Murton said all burglary files are assessed and where there is a viable line of inquiry they are investigated further.
"The majority have no viable lines of inquiry so cannot be investigated on an individual basis beyond the initial assessment. If a complainant is asked to 'not touch' areas for 48 hours, that generally only involves the point of entry and other specific places, not the entire house. Active inquiries are under way into the Breezes Rd burglary," he said.
And in another twist, Ms Skurr tracked down the 17-year-old youth, who has been charged with burglary, through Facebook and has been in contact with him to try and retrieve her gear.
"He said he would swap my quad bike for my laptop. I have spent the last week trying to track them down and have given a lot of information to the police. It's frustrating. I was told by police the kid that was arrested is one of six, aged between 16-18, who are responsible for several burglaries in the area. They have all their names and police said they are well known to them but they haven't got enough evidence to charge them," she said.