A crime spree in Waikato overnight saw police called to a number of ram raids burglaries, including at a mall and several cafes
Multiple stores in Thames, Chartwell, central Hamilton, Hamilton East and Tamahere were hit by thieves early on Tuesday morning.
Police were first called to a ram raid at Westfield Mall in the Hamilton suburb of Chartwell shortly after 1.20am, where a stolen Subaru was allegedly used to smash through the doors at the northern end of the mall.
Then at 3.55am, a Nissan Tiida was used to smash the front door of a petrol station on Naylor Street in Hamilton.
When police arrived they discovered two cafes on Cambridge Road had also been broken into. Police also received reports of a burglary on Devine Road, Tamahere.
Meanwhile, in Thames, a café was burgled at about 2am and a car was stolen.
Police said the offenders drove the stolen car to an address on Cochrane Street and broke in. Shortly afterwards the same car was allegedly involved in a third burglary at a Pollen Street address where a golf club was used to smash a window.
Acting Waikato District Commander Andrea McBeth said police are working hard to piece together the events, including investigating whether they are linked.
"We are following some good lines of enquiry and want to reassure the public that we are working tirelessly to track down the offenders and hold them to account," Commander McBeth said.
"We understand the public frustration in regards to the ongoing commercial burglaries and are utilising all available resources, including the Police Eagle helicopter last night.
"We thank the public for their ongoing assistance in reporting these matters to police."
It comes as the country grapples with an increase in ram raid burglaries. Police analysis released to Newshub show in the first six months of this year, there were 254 ram raids - a 518 percent increase on the first six months of 2018.
Anyone who has information about any of these incidents or the people involved should call 105. You can also share information anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111. Anyone who sees something of concern happening should call 111 immediately.