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Police updates – Akatawara Forest missing men located, Chch burglaries, Ashburton fatal crash

Crime news 17 July 2023.

Police updates on crimes and investigations for the afternoon of 17 July 2023.

Missing men located, Akatarawa Forest

The two men reported missing in Akatarawa Forest have been located and are safe and well.

The men were located at around 9.30am after an extensive land search in the area.

They have been assessed by ambulance and are reported to be uninjured.

Police and Land Search and Rescue, civilian volunteers and Westpac Rescue helicopter assisted with the search.

Police would like to thank everyone involved in the search overnight and this morning, especially those who volunteered their time.

Fatal crash, Ashburton

Police can now confirm the sole occupant of a car has died following a collision with a truck at the intersection of Hackthorne Road and Maronan Valetta Road this morning.

The driver of the truck is reported to have minor injuries.

The road remains closed and is likely to be blocked for some time while a scene examination takes place.

Name release, Taupō

Police can confirm that a man reported missing in the Taupō area in December 2022 has been located, deceased.

Lofty Maki, 63, of Murapara was reported missing in early December 2022. Extensive searching and investigations at the time did not locate Mr Maki.

In April 2023 human remains were located by hunters in the Kaingaroa Forest.

DNA testing involving Mr Maki’s close relatives took three months to return a result, finally establishing that the deceased person was Mr Maki.

The case has been referred to the Coroner.

Investigations underway following commercial burglaries in Christchurch

Police are investigating following a number of commercial burglaries in Christchurch this morning.

Between 2.45am and 6.10am Police received seven reports of commercial burglaries, three of which were ram-raid style in which a vehicle was used to gain access to the premises.

‘We live in this community and we feel the pain of the retailers who are being subjected to this kind of thoughtless actions by a handful of offenders who think this kind of behaviour is acceptable. We’re working with urgency to locate the offenders and hold them to account,’ said Superintendent Lane Todd, Christchurch Metro Area Commander.

‘In addition to responding to incidents and following-up with investigative action, we are focused on what we can do to prevent this crime and harm. Part of this is working with retailers to provide prevention advice and help them to access security equipment.

‘The Retail Crime Prevention Programme is continuing to make progress in delivering protective equipment and additional prevention advice for retailers who have been the victim of ram raids or aggravated robberies. As at 12 July, 38 stores in Canterbury that have been the victim of a ram raid or aggravated robbery have had quotes approved and allocated, and of those, 24 have already had security interventions completed.

‘We also have our National Retail Investigation Support Unit targeting recidivist retail offenders, such as shoplifters, who are offending in multiple locations. So far this had included investigating 55 offenders in Canterbury District who have had 467 charges laid against them.’

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