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REINZ Assists in Conviction of Open Home Thieves

News Release
5 December, 2003

REINZ Assists in Conviction of Open Home Thieves

Action by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has resulted in the conviction and jailing of two offenders following a number of thefts in open homes last year.

Sharon Andrea Cann, 33, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Edward Junior Waller, 28, received a three-year sentence when they appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday, after stealing property worth more than $57,000 from open homes in Auckland.

The Institute spent $15,000 to hire a private investigator to help catch the thieves and circulated photographs of suspected offenders to members.

In addition the Institute has made representations to insurance companies to ensure that cover was available for those who have been burgled in open homes and has provided members with a comprehensive checklist on how to avoid open home thefts.

REINZ National President, Mr Graeme Woodley says: “Although thefts from open homes are extremely rare, it is essential that we provide protection not only for the vendor, but for the real estate agent who is trying to sell their home.

“Suffice to say our agents will be increasingly vigilant since this matter has been brought to attention, and we have been warning agents of this danger for some time. Our initiative in employing private investigators shows we are accepting our responsibility and taking this matter seriously.

“Members can assure their clients that the Institute will go out of its way to ensure the police have every assistance in bringing the perpetrators of such thefts before the Courts.”

Over the two-week trial 71 witnesses were called in relation to 26 counts of theft.

The Institute’s Professional Standards Manager Gordon Meyer said: “The case’s successful outcome will send out a message to criminals that homes for sale were no easy target.”


-ENDS-

Real estate information is also available via the Institute’s official property directory – RealENZ – on the Internet. RealENZ is a search facility providing comprehensive information on residential, lifestyle, rural, commercial, investment and rental properties. RealENZ’s Internet address is: www.realenz.co.nz


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