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Thieves steal bronze plaques

Auckland City Council Media release

28 August 2008

Thieves steal bronze plaques

More than 100 bronze plaques have been damaged or stolen from graves in Otahuhu and Waikaraka cemeteries this week.

A large number of the stolen plaques are from graves of returned servicemen.

Auckland Mayor, Hon John Banks, says he is upset that someone would go to the extent of stealing from a cemetery.

"This is extremely hurtful for the families and shows a huge lack of respect," he says.

The council is unable to locate next of kin or descendants of some of the grave sites, and encourages those who have relatives buried at these cemeteries to phone Waikaraka Cemetery on (09) 636 7054 with queries.

Lists of missing RSA plaques have been provided to Otahuhu RSA and Veterans Affairs, and the Otahuhu and Onehunga police have also been notified.

While Waikaraka Cemetery in Onehunga is regularly patrolled by security guards. Neither have security cameras.

The cost of a replacement plaque is around $1000. A large-scale theft like this has not happened for at least seven years.

These thefts are just the latest in a spate of thefts of metal council property across the city. The council has recorded bronze sculptures and statues, steel rubbish bins, copper flashing and even stormwater grates stolen recently.

Councillor Greg Moyle, chairperson of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, says it is disgraceful that people will sink to such depths.

"The total bill so far is estimated at $600,000 in replacement costs and additional security measures. These thieves are stealing directly from our ratepayers," he says. "We encourage the public to keep an eye out to help us put a stop to it."

ENDS

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