‘Facebook won’t punish crims’

Thursday July 18, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
A rental van was robbed while the tourists were snorkelling at Fruits of Rarotonga; the first report was on Facebook. 19050614 A rental van was robbed while the tourists were snorkelling at Fruits of Rarotonga; the first report was on Facebook. 19050614

Police are calling on the public not to rely on social media for justice but to report any crime to the relevant authorities.

They were responding to the numbers of alleged break-ins or thefts being aired on social media.

Police were continuing to follow leads in their investigations, said spokesman Trevor Pitt, thanks to witness information. 

“Anyone with helpful information should provide that to the police, and not rely on social media for justice,” he added. “Facebook doesn’t hand down sentences for crimes.”

His comments came after Blackrock School reported a break-in and burglary on social media, causing a great deal of online discussion about the dangers of crime.

But after investigating, police said there was no forced entry: that the school’s missing money was theft – but not burglary.

Blackrock Preschool alerted police this month, alleging one of their side doors had been prised open and the cash box emptied of a small amount of cash.

Police are yet to find the culprit. But Blackrock principal Stephanie Forbes acknowledged their quick attendance.

Forbes said the thieves did not take the laptops, iPad and the cheque book – causing her to believe that children were involved.

“Let this be a wake-up call to you as well,” she told the community on Facebook.

“I'll certainly hide all these items better from now on. We have known for years that kids climb over our fence all the time, but stealing from our kiddies is not acceptable! If you happen to be in the area and see people in our grounds please call the police,” she urged.

A week ago, Ruatonga residents were warned on the famous Rarotonga Community and Beyond page of someone trying to force open a ranch slider. John Snowball said he saw a young male with a white t-shirt, blue rugby shorts.

“It could be totally legit but why try and open my ranch slider door? Lights are on! So knock first! I stood in the middle of the door and he kept trying to look inside. Anyway, lights be on all night,” he said.

A month ago, Chantal’s Concierge office at Tikioki also said on social media that an Avis hire van had a “brick block” thrown through the window, while the tourists were snorkelling at Fruits of Rarotonga. A phone and valuables were taken and their bags emptied of all cash.

And over the weekend on Facebook, Cook Islands Security reported a call-out after two young boys with hoodies allegedly stole money, cigarettes and alcohol from Tex Mart store in Arorangi.

The repeated crime reports on Facebook have been causing growing alarm: Gail Lewis replied that all shops and homes needed to have cameras or a loud burglar alarm as these break-ins or acts of thefts seem to be continuously happening.

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