Thieves tar­get tools for drugs

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - DEBRIN FOXCROFT

Trades­peo­ple are in­creas­ingly be­ing tar­geted by drug ad­dicts look­ing for some­thing to trade for their next high.

Po­lice are con­cerned by the num­ber of tools found when car­ry­ing out drug search war­rants.

Waitem­ata¯ Po­lice Sergeant Aron McKe­own said 42 power tools were re­cov­ered, val­ued at more than $40,000, during a re­cent search in Auck­land.

‘‘We be­lieve that these stolen tools are used as a com­mod­ity to buy metham­phetamine and other drugs.’’

A West Auck­land painter and char­ter boat skip­per, who asked not to be named for safety rea­sons, said the thieves that tar­geted his van re­cently were not what he ex­pected.

‘‘They weren’t rough look­ing at all. They were clean shaven and were wear­ing smart clothes.

‘‘They looked like they were com­ing back from church,’’ he said.

The Glen Eden res­i­dent’s van was parked un­der his bed­room win­dow on So­lar Ave.

When he heard the glass break, he looked out the win­dow and saw two thieves break­ing into his ve­hi­cle at 5.30am. ‘‘One guy looked straight at me.’’ The thief threat­ened to re­turn and kill both him and his dogs, he said.

‘‘We have al­ways been se­cu­rity con­scious but now even more so. We are putting se­cu­rity cam­eras in.’’

While he nor­mally takes his tools out at night, the res­i­dent had read­ied his van the night be­fore for an early shift at work.

McKe­own said thieves of­ten tar­geted trades­peo­ple’s ve­hi­cles as they could con­tain high value items.

He called on trades­peo­ple to ei­ther empty their ve­hi­cles at night or use a qual­ity lock box, se­cured to the ve­hi­cle, to store tools.

McKe­own also en­cour­aged trades­peo­ple to en­grave tools with their driv­ers li­cence num­ber so that po­lice are able to track own­ers of re­cov­ered items.

Waitem­ata Po­lice have been at­tend­ing trade events since the be­gin­ning of the year and of­fer­ing free tool en­grav­ing to the tradies.

‘‘We have en­graved over 2500 tools at present and have other events com­ing up,’’ McKe­own said.

Lastly, McKe­own said peo­ple shouldn’t buy sec­ond hand tools from un­cer­ti­fied on­line groups.

‘‘If it looks too good to be true, then it prob­a­bly is,’’ he said.

ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

Tools have been found during the ex­e­cu­tion of a num­ber of drug-re­lated search war­rants in West Auck­land (file photo).

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