Police are urging shoppers to be wary of purchasing hot water systems from sites like Facebook Marketplace, following an increase in thefts in recent weeks.
A dozen reports of burglaries involving stolen califonts (gas water heaters) have been reported in the past three months.
Most occurred in the southern region of Manukau counties.
Police said violators were targeting new housing estates and subdivisions in order to steal heating systems after installation.
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Police said it was likely that criminals damaged many gas-fired hot water systems during the removal process, creating potential safety concerns.
Thieves are believed to resell them online.
Acting Inspector Jono Chappell, Area Prevention Officer for South Manukau Counties Police, encourages all builders, developers and owners with Califont systems to register the serial number.
This means that the police can easily identify the owner when stolen items appear online.
“We also want to remind the public that offers advertised online that sound too good to be true are often cheap for a reason,” he said.
“Buying these items through unregulated channels such as social media rather than reputable retailers puts your own safety at risk by using potentially damaged items.
“Receiving stolen goods is a criminal offense and you could be prosecuted. “
Police urge anyone with information relating to resale systems or burglaries to call 105, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.