Gang of burglars, youngest of 7, caught in overnight toy raid at mall

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The Farmers department store at Chartwell Shopping Center was targeted by the four child burglars aged seven, 10, 11 and 12.

MIKE MATHER/Stuff

The Farmers department store at Chartwell Shopping Center was targeted by the four child burglars aged seven, 10, 11 and 12.

Police say they are shocked after four children, including one aged just 7, were caught trying to steal from a Hamilton shopping center in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Multiple alarm activations alerted police to the break-in at Chartwell Shopping Center around 1am.

Staff arrived to find the four children, ages 7, 10, 11 and 12, at the scene with stolen toys and other property, police said in a statement.

The 11-year-old boy fled after seeing the police, but they chose not to pursue him and stayed with the other three youngsters.

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In his attempt to escape, the boy had fallen about eight meters to the ground, injuring his arm.

Police personnel found him soon after and immediately administered first aid. The child was taken to hospital by ambulance.

One of the stores targeted by young people was the Farmers department store in the upstairs section of the complex.

Police arrived at Chartwell Shopping Center at 1am to find four children, aged seven, 10, 11 and 12, holding stolen toys and other possessions.

Thing

Police arrived at Chartwell Shopping Center at 1am to find four children, aged seven, 10, 11 and 12, holding stolen toys and other possessions.

Store management was unavailable to respond to Thing surveys.

“The children had been referred to Youth Services and would be followed up by our Youth Engagement Teams,” said Inspector Andrea McBeth, Hamilton Area Commander.

“It is important to note that solving this type of juvenile delinquency is not just a matter for the police.

“This is a social and community issue and parents have a responsibility to know where their children are and to make sure they are safe.

“We need our communities to work alongside us and our partner agencies to support and steer young people on a better path.”

Waikato police had set up a dedicated team to investigate such offences, and there a detective was investigating all the circumstances of the Chartwell raid.

Business owners who wanted to talk to police about such offenses were encouraged to get in touch, McBeth said.

“We understand the distress this can cause, we hear your frustrations and we can help advise you on how to protect your business.

“We also encourage all members of the public to immediately report any suspicious activity via 111, as this can help us respond in a timely manner and hold all offenders to account.”

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