A hearse has been stolen from a New Plymouth funeral home and used in a burglary.
Police have recovered a stolen hearse and arrested two people following a theft from a New Plymouth funeral home.
The vehicle was reported as stolen from Vospers Funeral Services on Devon St East around 11am on Tuesday.
Less than half an hour later it is believed to have been used in the burglary of a home on Kennedy Pl in Merrilands.
A police spokesperson said the exact charges were still being confirmed. The hearse was found, and the people were arrested, in South Taranaki.
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The vehicle theft is the latest in a spate of stolen motor vehicles from across New Plymouth, which has seen 19 cars pinched since Friday.
A further 12 cars have been broken into and had items stolen.
And that may only be the tip of the iceberg, with police believing there are more offences of this nature that had gone unreported.
Taranaki prevention manager, acting inspector Matt Prendergast is urging people to report these incidents.
He said a group of around six youths, in their early teens, had been “roaming around”, mostly at night, and stealing cars.
“They’re really active at the moment,” he said.
“They’re going for joyrides and ditching them and then getting another one.”
The cars being targeted are Mazdas, Nissans and Toyota and usually models from the 1990s through to about 2011.
Police are working to apprehend the offenders and prevent further offending but there are measures the public can take to assist, he said.
“If you do see groups of young people wandering around at night around at night, let us know.”
Prendergast said it was also of real concern that these young people with “no driving skills” were on the road.
“There’s the potential for something to go drastically wrong.”
He urged people to “make it as hard as you can” for the thieves to continue stealing vehicles.
“Keep your property safe, remove all your valuables from your car, make sure they are locked, and use a steering wheel lock,” he said.
Where possible, park your car in a well-lit area, in a car port or garage, down a driveway, or where there are sensor lights, which can be a deterrent against your car being broken into or stolen.