Museum Security Network

New Zealand Victoria Crosses Medal disappointment after false alarm

Thursday December 06, 2007
By Juliet Rowan 

Police are spending as much time conducting a thorough scene analysis as they would on a murder. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Police are spending as much time conducting a thorough scene analysis as they would on a murder. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A set of medals handed in to Wellington police gave false hope to officers investigating the theft of 100 precious war medals from the Waiouru Army Museum.

The medal set was found in a Wellington carpark on Sunday and handed in to police yesterday, sparking calls to officers working on the Waiouru heist. But a the medals did not match the descriptions of any of the stolen gongs.

Police spent day four of the investigation questioning every person in Waiouru, asking soldiers and civilians if they saw anything unusual at the time of the theft.

Inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Bensemann said police wanted to establish who was in Waiouru on the night of the heist.

But that did not mean they thought the thieves were from the town.

Two dozen military police were diverted from an annual training exercise in Levin to help.

Police are planning to post pictures of the stolen medals on their website and distribute information about them to authorities and collectors overseas.

Forensic officers are expected to continue working today and possibly tomorrow inside the museum.

The the rear where the thieves broke in through a fire escape remained cordoned off last night.

Mr Bensemann said the examination was the most meticulous he had worked on in 20 years and the clues at the crime scene would prove crucial to finding the thieves.

Mr O’Rourke said the level of care being taken was unprecedented for a burglary.

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