A local paramedic’s pamphlet drop in search for his stolen first aid kit has turned into a crusade against thievery, as he aims to create more awareness in our neighbourhoods.
On Saturday morning Frank Elzenheimer, a St John employee, went to take his dog for a walk. As he opened his car door he noticed his private medical bag had gone missing.
Frank says although the bag was his personal gear he feels obliged as a paramedic to make use of his gear whenever needed. He says the tools not only have a monetary value but also a functional value too.
“I feel that my obligation with the medical knowledge I have is to still give basic treatment with my tools if I come across an accident. I don’t have controlled drugs in my personal kits but I do have bandages and other life saving things in my kit which I can use to save a life. I have done that a couple of times.”
Frank alerted police to the stolen medical kit but says he felt “helpless” and needed to take matters into his own hands.
“I had the idea to create a leaflet and drop it in every single mailbox around my close neighbourhood [Washington Valley] so that’s what I did on Sunday morning.”
A couple of hours later Frank began to receive visits and phone calls from neighbours who had also noticed items had gone missing from their cars and homes.
“Five people who lived close had something stolen recently so I thought there must be something more going on.”
At 5pm on Sunday night Frank received a text message from a woman who claimed to know where his medical bag was.
“I agreed to meet up with this woman at her house. This woman apologised and told me that her drug abusing flatmate had taken the bag. It turned out that this flatmate, just over on the other street, had been going through our properties in the neighbourhood and used opportunities to steal stuff to sell to fund his addiction.”
The woman handed Frank back his bag with most of the belongings inside. Frank says police are aware of the man but he is still concerned about the safety of the neighbourhood.
“My partner works in mental health. She has seen the vicious cycle of drug abusers and alcoholics, you can’t trust them. They take their advantage to fuel their fix.
“I thought that somebody would need to stand up. For me it’s important to keep our homes and communities safe and secure and open up peoples conscience. We need to have a little reminder, increase your awareness, make contact with your close neighbours and set up neighbourhood groups you can text when something looks a bit odd.”
From now on Frank has begun writing down car number plates and taking photos of anything suspicious on his street.
“Some people may say I’m being paranoid but I don’t think we should live in a society where we accept the fact that we just can’t leave our cars parked in our driveways anymore.”
Frank previously had his house burgled in Auckland around 14 years ago. He says when you experience a burglary it sticks with you forever.