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Callers say houses looted after earthquake evacuation

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Nov 2016, 7:48AM
A family who fled their New Brighton home with their disabled child have returned to find the property looted (NZ Herald)

Callers say houses looted after earthquake evacuation

Author
Anna Leask, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Nov 2016, 7:48AM

• Police are looking for a silver Mazda BT50, registration EPP79 with black roof racks. Contact the Christchurch police immediately on 03 363 7400.

LISTEN ABOVE: Callers speak to Chris Lynch in Christchurch after their evacuated homes were looted

Police are investigating three burglaries reported in the aftermath of this morning's massive earthquake.

Hundreds of Christchurch residents fled their homes as a tsunami warning was issued in the early hours of the morning.

As of 9am Christchurch police had received three reports of burglaries which Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said "appear to have occurred while people were evacuated following the earthquakes".

"Police will investigate each report as usual and are absolutely confident we can deal with normal crime as well as the earthquake response and reassurance," Price told the Herald.

The Herald revealed that Melissa Mill and her husband Matt arrived home about five hours after fleeing their New Brighton home to find it ransacked.

A work truck and $5000 hearing device relied upon by their disabled 12-year-old daughter were stolen.

"If people witness crime or are concerned about suspicious behaviour we encourage them to follow the normal processes and contact police immediately," said Price.

"It is extremely disappointing that in a time when people are facing a traumatic event, others decide to take advantage like this."

He said the fear of being looted should not trump personal safety when it came to returning home.

"We understand people may have concerns about the security of their homes following evacuations, but it is important people do not return until it is made clear by the appropriate authorities it is safe to do so," Price advised.

Anyone who has information about the burglary or sees the truck should call the Christchurch police immediately on 03 363 7400.

New Zealand First has called on the Government to introduce new laws around looting during civil emergencies.

"Parliament, when it resumes tomorrow, should condemn these acts, and agree to pass legislation that will deliver a sentence that will make anyone else, when tempted, think twice," Leader Winston Peters said.

"These individuals are preying on others during periods of extreme stress and tragedy...That anyone would rob others at a time of such crisis is evil."
Peters said police should be free to concentrate on the emergency effort.

"Their valuable work is diverted by such selfish acts. Looting occurred at the time of the Christchurch earthquakes too and, to be fair, we parliamentarians should have done something about it.

“Let’s make a commitment to do something."

NZ Herald

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