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Crimeline: Fraud cases continue, ‘manic traffic’ expected

The Wānaka App

Sue Wards

27 March 2024, 4:04 PM

Crimeline: Fraud cases continue, ‘manic traffic’ expectedConstable Harmanjot Singh

Crimeline has changed. It is written by the Wānaka App based on a weekly meeting with Wānaka Police.

After a “pretty cruisy week” for Wānaka police, the past weekend got busier with two events at Glendhu Bay, Constable Harmanjot Singh says.

There were “no concerns and no issues” with either the Ripe and Magicland events, Harmanjot said, and “everyone was well-behaved”, however checkpoints around Wānaka from Friday to Sunday identified seven drivers heading home who had been drinking.

“People [are] making bad decisions to drive after having a few drinks… it’s not safe for them or other road users,” he said.

Fraud cases continue

“We’re still getting reports of fraud, whether it’s [Facebook] Marketplace or just people receiving phone calls with the callers pretending to be from their banks,” Harmanjot said.

“We advise that if they are receiving phone calls from banks, hang up and visit their banks to clarify any concerns or issues, without giving any details out or accessing their accounts while on the phone.”

On Marketplace people can say they are based in Wānaka but can be anywhere in the world, he said.

Police advise buyers to look carefully at the seller and the product before making any deposits, he said.

“Choose a safe public place, the library or somewhere you can meet that person to confirm that item is legit.”

He said there have been incidents in the past where people have paid a deposit on an item, then gone to an address to find it doesn’t exist or the residents don’t know anything about it.

Tracking the fraudsters down can depend on how the buyer had made the transaction, he said.

“If it’s a NZ bank account it gives us some hope to track down that person but if it goes via Paypal or overseas it’s really hard for us to track.”

Easter preparation

This weekend there will be a lot of people in town, and “the traffic will be manic”, Harmanjot said.

“Be patient and plan ahead if you want to go away or are coming into Wānaka.

He said there will be extra police staff on duty, including a road policing team from Queenstown, a prevention team, and the frontline public safety team. Some staff will be at Warbirds Over Wānaka and others will be spread around town, he said.

Other incidents

Harmanjot said there was no further update on the unexpected death in Hāwea a few weeks ago. The matter was still under investigation by the local CIB, he said.

Go deeper: ‘Unexplained’ Lake Hāwea death under investigation

A crash near Luggate in the early hours of Friday morning (March 22) resulted in one person being taken to hospital for a precautionary check.

Harmanjot said there have been a number of driving complaints reported to the police station up to two or three days after the events occurred.

“If it's safe to do, report it at the time on *555 so it can be dealt with in a timely manner. If it’s two or three days old, we will still act on it but it’s better at the time it’s happening.” 

He said the driver could be intoxicated, or driving a rental car, and a delay of a few days can make it hard for police to go back and ascertain driver details.

Harman said there are still staff shortages at the police station front counter and people should drop any found property at the drop in box.

Call 111 when you need an emergency response from police, fire or ambulance.

Call 105 to report things that don’t need urgent police assistance.

Call *555 to report road incidents that are urgent but not life-threatening.

To make an anonymous crime report contact Crime Stoppers.

PHOTO: Wānaka App