Tradies beware. Thieves are targeting work utes and newly-constructed homes in the local area to steal tools, appliances and even toilet roll holders.
Police have renewed their warning for people to lock their vehicles and secure their items after several recent incidents in the Hunter Valley.
A grease gun, a reversing camera, diesel fuel, a compressor, tool boxes and power tools were among the hoard of items stolen from utes in the past few weeks.
Targeted areas include Aberdare, Beresfield and Telarah.
Even security features aren’t keeping some criminals away. Thieves cut a padlock to gain entry to a toolbox inside a ute in Tenambit on September 17, before they made off with a collection of tools.
But it’s not just utes that are under threat. Freshly-constructed homes that have not not yet been handed over to the new owners have also become a haven for thieves.
Central Hunter acting crime manager Detective Sergeant Mitch Dubojski said Weston and Chisholm, where there is a hive of building activity at the moment, were common areas for this type of crime.
Offenders have stolen an array of different home items, including bath spouts, boxes of tiles, toilets, kitchen appliances and toilet roll holders from vacant homes in those areas.
Sergeant Dubojski said in some instances, the same homes were being targeted on numerous occasions.
Police are working with building companies to combat the crime and reviewing CCTV footage when it is available to catch the perpetrators.
But the problem also rests with people creating a market for stolen tools and household goods, Sergeant Dubojski said.
He said people would be punished for possessing stolen items, even if they didn’t steal them.
“Receive and carry shares the same penalty as stealing,” he said.
“You can’t turn a blind eye to it.”
Sergeant Dubojski urged tradespeople to label and secure their tools, and always report any theft, no matter how small.
“It’s important to get reports,” he said.
“Police are tasked based on crime trends.
“We want to make sure we have police in the right areas at the right times.”
Any information should be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.