At least seven motorbikes were reported stolen from around Rarotonga in the month of June, with recent further thefts possibly taking that total as high as nine and two more thefts already recorded in just the first few days of July.
“Motorbikes are remaining comparatively high on police figures for ‘unlawful taking’, with incidents being reported far too frequently,” a Cook Islands Police Service spokesman said.
The most recent bike theft was reported on Tuesday afternoon, when a government-owned motorbike was taken from outside the MFEM building in Avarua.
Two juvenile repeat offenders were subsequently arrested yesterday, after police sighted the pair driving through Arorangi not long after the theft was first reported.
The two suspects are already under court orders as a result of earlier offences and are now in the police lockup facing charges related to unlawful taking and contempt of court.
In addition to the most recent theft, three motorbikes were reported stolen over the past weekend, with two more reported in the following two days, one taken from Nikao near the airport and one from Taputapuatea. This makes for a total of six reported thefts altogether in less than a week.
Asked if this recent spate of bike thefts might point towards the work of an organised group of bike thieves, a Cook Islands Police Service spokesman said that the “pattern of behaviour” evident in the thefts suggested offenders were seizing bikes “to become more mobile and thereby broaden the scope of their criminal activity”.
“The more mobile that offenders are, the more havoc they can cause to innocent people's property,” the spokesman said.
The Police Service was also at pains to warn motorbike owners that they should be aware of the risks associated with leaving their vehicles unattended overnight, away from home.
“While parked at your home or work, the motorbike ought to be secured. Locking the steering will help and definitely do not leave keys in the ignition at any time.” - SB