Thieves strike twice

Brazen thieves who had broken into an Ashburton home where they were disturbed before collecting any bounty, returned to the property barely an hour after police had left the scene to steal the homeowner’s car.

Marchelle Jenkins of McKay Drive in Ashburton said the drama at her home began at about 1.30 am when she was awakened by her 10-month-old Yorkshire Terrier growling and barking viciously.

“I tried to calm him down but he kept barking and then looking in the direction of the kitchen. So I followed him to the kitchen and saw muddy footprints all around but didn’t think much of as it had been raining and I thought my son-in-law and his friends had brought in the mud.

“Then I looked up and saw the security gate open and I asked my daughter and son-in-law if they had left it open.

“At the same time, I saw a long piece of wire with a hook on it in the laundry area and instinctively knew something had happened,” said Jenkins.

She said she immediately called the police, who responded within five minutes of the call. The family then verified that nothing had been taken and assumed the thieves had been disturbed by Joey, the Yorkshire Terrier.

“We thought that nothing was taken but were shocked when I attempted to park my car in a safer spot to find my keys and my daughter’s car keys were missing. We didn’t think much of it,” said Jenkins.

She said by about 2.30 am, the police had completed their investigation and left, while she settled down with a cup of tea and then went to bed.

A few minutes later her daughter got a call from a neighbour asking if she (Marchelle) was driving off somewhere.

“Our neighbour wanted to know if I was going out so late … my daughter screamed ‘mom, your car’. We ran and just heard screeching of tyres. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that they would return so quickly.

“I think because they had got away with nothing, they came back for the car.

“They actually lay in wait for the police to leave, then cut the lock on the gate and came in to take the car. It is quite unnerving to know they were here or close by the entire time watching and waiting for the right time to strike,” said Jenkins.

She has appealed for people to be on the look-out for her white Ford Focus with registration number NP 201-072.

On tenterhooks, Jenkins said they spent the rest of the morning with the police and trying to increase their security. “They say a criminal never strikes twice in the same area — but here’s proof that they do. We are just scared now that they are going to return for my daughter’s car as they have her keys as well.

“But we have put into place a contingency plan to park her car safely. And we will be watching … and waiting for them this time,” she said.

Police are investigating a case of burglary and theft of motor vehicle.