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Operation Valour - Update

New Zealand Police National News Release
5:07pm 10 December 2007


The main focus of the investigation into the burglary of the Army Museum at Waiouru in the early hours of Sunday morning remains in the Waiouru/greater Ruapehu area. There are no plans to move the enquiry base at this time Detective Senior Sergeant BENSEMANN said until enquiries in the greater Wairouru area have been exhausted. He said that the enquiry was business as usual.

"We are doing those basic things that we do in every serious crime investigation - which gives us the base of evidence which will lead to the identification and apprehension of our offender/s and their eventual conviction."

The Army Museum scene was handed back to the Curator this morning on completion of the scene examination and reconstruction phase. The handover was marked by a 'Whakanoa' which is a blessing and lifting of tapu conducted by the Reverend Rewai TE KAHU, an Army Padre. It was a moving short service attended by Museum Staff and members of the Police investigation team.

It is anticipated that the Museum will be re-opened to the Public tomorrow (Tuesday).

"The team involved in the scene examination are now in the process of collating all of the material they have gleaned from their work and will be assessing that material in respect of its evidential relevance to the investigation" said Detective Senior Sergeant BENSEMANN. "Everyone has worked very hard and put in very long hours over the past week and that is reflected in the results to date", he said. "I remain confident that the information gathered from the scene will assist in identifying the person or persons responsible for this crime."

He said that information is still being provided to the enquiry by members of the public as well as being gathered by the investigation team.

Detective Senior Sergeant BENSEMANN said that camper vans and caravans often stopped and/or overnighted in the car park of the Army Museum. He appealed for the drivers and occupants of these vehicles who were in the car park on the evening/night of the offence to contact the Police, either via the 0800-VALOUR information line or via the Police Website email facility.

There are currently 36 investigators and support staff working on the burglary of the Army Museum and the theft of the medals, with some staff having left the enquiry over the weekend to attend to personal and professional commitments. Further replacement staff were drafted in today and more are expected as the week progresses.


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