Brazen thieves are making life miserable for tradespeople and their families across east Auckland by breaking into and stealing tools from their work vehicles.
The frequency of such incidents in the local community has sparked Howick Police community services supervisor, sergeant Brett Meale, to urge tradies to make their work vehicles less appealing targets for criminals.
“It’s the same old thing of tools being stolen from work vans and utes,” he told the Times.
“If they can, get an alarm in them and park them somewhere secure, and if the tools can be engraved so they’re definitely identifiable that’s helpful.
“We recover at search warrants various tools, but trying to make them back to where they’ve been stolen from [can be difficult].
“The offenders are selling them through Facebook Marketplace and Trade Me so we encourage people to secure their vans and utes, especially if there is thousands of dollars’ worth of tools in them.”
A quick glance at local community Facebook pages reveals numerous posts during 2023 by people who had a vehicle owned by themselves or a family member broken into in east Auckland and their contents stolen.
One person reported a ute parked on a driveway at a house in Westerham Drive, Dannemora, being broken into overnight on November 21 and a tool bag and tools stolen from it.
In a second incident, in the early hours of September 21, a vehicle parked in Cockle Bay was allegedly broken into by a person riding an e-scooter who stole work tools from it.
Work tools were also stolen overnight on June 4 from a ute at a house in Bronte Place in Somerville.
The victim’s wife warned people to “please make sure your trade vehicles are parked close to where you can hear or keep an eye out”.
An in a fourth incident, overnight on February 4, power tools were stolen from a work vehicle parked in Clydesdale Avenue, Somerville.
The post said the Milwaukee-brand tools had ‘KV’ branded on them.
“Hope the scum that stole these are pleased with yourselves. He [the victim] is an apprentice with his tools costing over $2000 and you have taken his ability to earn a living.”
Meale says while he hasn’t seen an increase in such incidents in east Auckland recently it’s a “continual problem for police”.
“It’s just that it’s so enticing for the offenders. These goods are easily turned into cash for them so that’s what they’re after.”
Meale says it can be too much hassle for a tradesperson to transfer their tools back and forth from their work van or ute into their house or a shed.
“It’s a lot to do every day, so if they can park their van or ute in their garage that would be ideal.
“It’s the ones that are parked out on the roads [that get targeted]. It’s about trying to make it as secure as possible by having an alarm in the vehicle and parking it under good lighting.
“Things like that, and taking some precaution to avoid being victimised.”