Copper stolen from telescope at Auckland's Stardome, police plea for public help

A telescope at Auckland's Stardome Observatory and Planetarium is without over half of its copper following a "deplorable" burglary at the weekend. 

Auckland police have launched an investigation after thieves stripped sheets of copper from the dome of the Zeiss telescope in Epsom on Sunday.

Area Prevention Manager Auckland City East Inspector Rachel Dolheguy said it appears the thieves accessed the dome via scaffolding that is being used to repair the planetarium and observatory roof.

"The copper has been pulled off of the dome and rolled into balls and thrown off the edge of the scaffolding."

Insp Dolheguy said police know copper is a commodity of choice for thieves and is urging anyone with information to come forward. 

"Stealing copper from one of Auckland's icons is deplorable."

She urged anyone who has "unwillingly" purchased copper and is not aware of where it has come from to come forward too. 

"We want to reassure the community that those responsible will be held to account."

Stadome chief executive Victoria Travers said more than a million people have looked through the Zeiss telescope since its installation in 1967.

"It's so upsetting to see the damage to our beautiful telescope dome, which has been a gorgeous feature of our building for 56 years."

Travers said over half of the copper has been stripped and stolen and the telescope won't be able to operate until the dome is fixed. 

Insp Dolheguy is asking anyone with information to contact police on 105 and reference file number P054727538.