(From a lost post by Luthien)
Source: NZ Herald, 9 Sept 2008
“The bust of a major handbag-snatching ring has not stopped thieves from stealing women’s bags in supermarket carparks.
Waitemata police recently carried out a series of raids on the homes of men involved in an Auckland-wide gang that was stealing handbags from the front seats of cars while women loaded their groceries into the boot.
The raids, which involved 30 officers and the execution of 15 search warrants, resulted in nine men being arrested and charged.
Detective Senior Sergeant Stan Brown said the arrests had not put an end to region-wide handbag snatching. At least five more cases had occurred in the past week. One of those was believed to be a copycat crime and the thief has since been arrested. Police are still hunting those behind the other snatchings.Mr Brown said it was too early to say if they were carried out by associates of the original gang or whether other copycats were now at work.
The latest spate of snatchings started in New Lynn last Tuesday but the woman who was loading her groceries had locked her door, meaning the thieves were unable to get to her handbag. Undeterred, they tried again half an hour later at Westgate, where they stole a woman’s bag. At 6.30pm they successfully struck again in Otara.
Mr Brown said in all three cases the thieves used stolen cars to make their getaway.
Yesterday, another handbag was stolen from a carpark behind the mall in Henderson.
Mr Brown said it was important people did everything they could to deter thieves, including keeping their handbags with them at all times and making sure car doors were locked. While many of the earlier victims were Asian, Mr Brown said thieves were now indiscriminate in who they targeted.
Police staff involved in last month’s handbag raids have recovered dozens of stolen items, which they would like to return to the owners.”
Retrieved possessions may be viewed HERE