Open homes get cased by burglars
24 November 2006

Homeowners selling their property are warned they could be burgled after holding an open home.

Howick police are investigating a spate of burglaries at homes for sale in Howick and Pakuranga.

Sergeant Keith Olsen says the break-ins happened soon after open homes were held. In most cases the alarms were not set or were not triggered by burglars.

Police are looking into links between the offences, and talking to real estate agents about people who visited the open homes.

"We're looking at lists that have been recorded and how accurate those lists are," he says. "There's not really a pattern when it comes to the sorts of houses being burgled or the sorts of areas being targeted, but we're still carrying out that analysis."

Mr Olsen says homeowners should lock valuables away before the open home and make sure real estate agents turn on the alarm when they leave.

They should ask neighbours to keep an eye out and take normal security precautions such as securing windows and doors.

Barfoot and Thompson director Peter Thompson says people attending an open home are asked for a name and phone number. "It's pretty obvious to see a false one and sometimes we do ask for proof of identification," he says.

Agents follow the vendor's instructions in dealing with security alarms, but in 95 percent of cases will be given the alarm code. Homeowners are also advised to lock up valuables and put personal belongings away.

- The Eastern Courier