Dinosaur, gorilla among surprise haul recovered during police searches

Dinosaur and gorilla recovered in police raid in Kerikeri

Police officers with the unusual property which was taken from a Kerikeri business in May.
Photo: Supplied / NZ police

Police have made a larger-than-life discovery and reunited a business with their prized companions after several search warrants were executed this month.

Kerikeri police were investigating several burglaries in the Mid North and Whangārei areas and were making enquiries with a group believed to be involved. Four men have been arrested.

Three search warrants were executed at addresses in the region last week, which led to the discovery.

‘Sophie’ the dinosaur, and her life-size gorilla friend were located at one of the properties, after being reported stolen from a business in Kerikeri in May.

Detective Sergeant Bart Graham, from the Kerikeri combined investigation unit, said Sophie’s owner was pleased to have both back but understandably disappointed about the damage caused by the thieves.

“While police are glad to be able to return the items, it is it unacceptable to take property that does not belong to you, and very disheartening to return the items in a poor condition.”

The warrants and information from the public also enabled police to recover three vehicles, vehicle parts, and a commercial truck and trailer unit alleged to have been stolen in recent months, Graham said.

Cannabis and $13,000 in cash was also found at the properties.

“Police allege the offenders had attempted to disguise stolen vehicles by removing identifying plates and significantly altering the vehicles’ appearance,” Graham said.

Four men, aged between 18 and 36, have been arrested and charged in relation to several incidents and are due to reappear in the Kaikohe and Whangārei District Courts.

Detective Sergeant Graham said police wanted to warn the public about the risks associated with buying vehicles via social media.

“It is imperative potential buyers do their due diligence, such as using Car Jam and other public sites, to verify the vehicles they are buying are not stolen.

“If something seems too good to be true, there is a strong chance it might be.”

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