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School Gets It's Own Back

Title: School Gets It's Own Back

At 1pm today School Community Officer, Sergeant Deane McEntee, will return a HP Compaq 6000 Pro computer to the principal of Newmarket Primary School. Some may say "big deal". Well, for Newmarket Primary, Police and SelectaDNA, it is a big deal.

The computer was stolen during a burglary in August last year and was one of more than 450 items Police seized as part of Operation KARA which was run by Auckland Central Tactical Crime Unit in September 2012.

Items recovered during the operation that targeted a property receiver allegedly dealing methamphetamine in exchange for stolen goods, included jewellery, laptops, cell phones and other electronic and personal goods like passports and drivers' licences.

What makes the Newmarket School computer unique is the fact it could be identified as belonging to the school because it had, as part of the Safer Schools Programme launched in May last year, been marked with SelectaDNA.

Officers spent days processing and examining the exhibits they seized and managed to identify, through reports to Police of stolen goods, 44 victims/complainants.

One of the officers used an ultra-violet light to examine the goods and, by doing so, identified SelectaDNA markings on the computer that were otherwise unremarkable to the naked eye.

The SelectaDNA sample was then analysed by ESR scientists who extracted the DNA sequence and were able to identify the owner by comparing it to the SelectaDNA Database.

Today marks the end of that process whereby the computer will be returned to the school.

Sergeant McEntee says it's extremely gratifying to be able to see how worthwhile it is for schools to go that little further to protect their resources.

"Since the Safer Schools Programme was launched in Auckland last year we've noted fewer schools have been burgled which can only be good for everyone - pupils, teaching staff, parents and Police - so we encourage the use of any crime prevention initiatives that have such tangible results."

Two alleged offenders, Paul Clark and Michelle Newton, have been charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and a number of receiving offences.

ENDS

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