Thieves tar­get tradies and build­ing sites

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - CATRIN OWEN

With hous­ing con­struc­tion in Auck­land ramp­ing up, so too is the num­ber of tool thefts from tradies’ vans and build­ing sites, po­lice say.

Builder Willie Tau had his van ran­sacked of tools while it was parked out­side his Royal Oak home.

‘‘Peo­ple are go­ing around break­ing and en­ter­ing and steal­ing tools, they smashed and grabbed out of my van,’’ Tau said.

‘‘They are very crafty and cun­ning and do it on a stormy night when there’s gale force winds.

Tau had more than $5000 worth of tools stolen in­clud­ing fram­ing nail guns, a rare jig saw from the United States and other items.

‘‘I feel gut­ted as that’s my bread an but­ter.’’

Thieves were tar­get­ing build­ings sites in the wealth­ier sub­urbs, Tau said.

One of his col­leagues had his van bro­ken into four times with tools stolen.

Tools were be­ing sold on the ‘‘black mar­ket’’ to un­sus­pect­ing buy­ers who couldn’t af­ford new tools, Tau said.

Reg­is­tered Master Builders Auck­land pres­i­dent Ross Faulkner said tool theft was a ‘‘ma­jor prob­lem’’ in Auck­land.

‘‘It’s not only un­pro­duc­tive and in­ef­fi­cient but you’re es­sen­tially rob­bing them twice,’’ he said.

‘‘The cost of in­sur­ance is some­times pro­hib­i­tive and with so much theft go­ing on, thieves would quickly on-sell them.’’

In­spec­tor Joe Tipene of Mt Welling­ton po­lice said there had been a spate of tool bur­glar­ies from build­ing sites re­cently.

‘‘With all the con­struc­tion go­ing on and the ex­pan­sion of Ta­maki Maka­rau (Auck­land) more of it is hap­pen­ing,’’ Tipene said.

Po­lice pre­ven­tion teams were mak­ing site vis­its and ed­u­cat­ing

CATRIN OWEN/STUFF

Willie Tau had more than $5000 worth of tools stolen from his van in Royal Oak.

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