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Arrests prove value in recording serial numbers

Father and son's arrests prove value in recording serial numbers and provides warning to gun owners

Friday, 2 May 2014 - 1:01pm

Waikato

Waikato Police say the arrest of two men at a rural property near Ngatea highlights two important points they wish to share with the public, the value of recording serial numbers of your valuables and that firearms owners are accountable for their actions.

Detective Sergeant Neville Ross of the Waikato Tactical Crime Unit said officers had gone to a Kaihere address on Tuesday afternoon to speak to a 34-year-old man in relation to a burglary of a home in which a number of firearms were stolen some months ago.

"On our arrival at the property the man's 61-year-old father was one of several family members Police came across in the lounge while the man we wanted to speak to was asleep in a sleep-out.

"The man's father, who is a licensed firearms owner, offered to show our staff where his legitimately owned firearms were secured in his safe but when he went into his bedroom accompanied by two of our officers, the father picked up a military style semi-automatic rifle."

Mr Ross said this created a very volatile situation made all the worse by the father's refusal to but the gun down.

"Disarmed by one of our staff, the father was brought out of the bedroom but as he was coming back to the lounge the father attacked one of the Police officers, punching him repeatedly in the face.

"At this point the man was restrained, handcuffed and removed from the house. Though safely resolved, the situation was very disappointing in that the father's grandchildren were present in the lounge and had to witness the attack on the officer."

Mr Ross said while the father was being arrested, his son, who was the person Police had originally come to speak to had been brought from the sleep-out into the house and physically tried to prevent officers arresting his father.

"This resulted in the son's arrest. When he was secured a search was conducted of his sleep-out which recovered in the recovery of a small amount of cannabis and a DVD player.

"A serial number check of the DVD player revealed it was stolen in 2008. The recording of the serial number by the original owner made all the difference in enabling us to prove the man illegally had it in his possession. We encourage all owners of valuable property to enter their serial numbers on databases such as that available on the Operation SNAP website, (www.snap.org.nz

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Mr Ross said the other important message to remember is that firearms ownership is a privilege, not a right and a key part of being granted a firearms licence is the owner is a fit and proper person.

"Police would suggest having a restricted weapon in your possession in breach of your licence conditions and confronting our staff with it falls outside the acceptable limits of fit and proper behaviour."
As a result of Tuesday's incident a 61-year-old man faces unlawfully carrying a restricted weapon, leaving a firearm loaded, unlawful possession of a restricted weapon and assaulting Police charges.

A 34-year-old man arrested at the same property is facing misuse of drugs, obstructing Police and receiving property charges.

Mr Ross said enquiries into tracing the eight firearms and other miscellaneous property taken in the earlier burglary are continuing.

End

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