Increasing number of stolen tools causes a problem for Auckland construction

Auckland is experiencing a building boom right now. But with it comes a boom in the number of stolen tools from vans and building sites.

“People are going around breaking and entering and stealing tools, they smashed and grabbed out of my van”, says builder Willie Tau, after his van has been ransacked while it was parked outside his Royal Oak home. “They are very crafty and do it on a stormy night when there are gale force winds”.

Tau’s loss includes a rare jigsaw from the US, framing nail gun, and much more professional construction equipment, together amounting to over $5000 in stolen tools. Thieves targeted his home for a reason since they prefer construction sites in wealthier neighbourhoods. Speculatively the tools were then sold on “black market”.

Stolen tools pose a major problem

Ross Faulkner, the president of Registered Masters Builders Auckland, says that it poses a major problem. “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.”

“With all the construction going on and the expansion of Tamaki Makarau (Auckland) more of it is happening”, says Joe Tipene, the inspector with Mt Wellington police. Police teams are making site visits in order to educate the construction companies on preventing techniques to better safeguard the tools. “Companies believe padlocks work, but they don’t. It’s easy for them to break”.

Over the past few months, the number of reported burglaries has increased from shipping containers. Since a large number of construction and trade tools were taken from there, police advise taking pictures of the serial numbers of your tools as well as mark them, which makes it less attractive for thieves to take.