Expensive commercial vehicles stolen in Christchurch are likely being sold back into the city's rebuild construction market, police have warned.
Contractors and tradespeople have been told to be vigilant about security after at least five high value vehicles were stolen in the last fortnight.
Detective Senior Sergeant Corrie Parnell says the spate began overnight on August 12 when offenders broke into Supersealing Ltd on Francella Street, Bromley, and stole a Mitsubishi Canter truck with a crane on the back, along with a water blaster, trailer and walk-behind roller. The machinery has a combined value of around $80,000.
"The offenders have made a determined effort to target the vehicles, breaking through two sets of padlocks and secure fencing," said Mr Parnell.
The truck has since been recovered on Wednesday evening on the corner of Hills Road and Walters Road, minus the equipment which had been on the back when stolen.
On the night of Friday, August 23 the Port Hills Truck Centre on Brightlings Road, Hillsborough, was broken into, and an Isuzu truck belonging to AGL Scaffolding and Rigging stolen.
It is believed a chain on the gate had been cut through to provide access for the offenders. The truck is valued at $20,000.
The same weekend, burglars broke into the premises of Cableprice NZ in Waterloo Road, Hornby, making off with a $45,000 Hitachi excavator and trailer. The excavator is described as being a distinctive orange colour.
Mr Parnell says in this case the premises were secured and offenders have cut through a heavy chain to gain access.
Earlier this week a building site in Logistics Drive, Harewood, was broken into some time on Tuesday night and a 2006 Isuzu truck, valued at $150,000, stolen from the property.
The offenders also made off with a large number of tools and items of small machinery from the site.
Investigators hope to be able to review CCTV camera footage from the area around this incident.
In the latest incident a forklift was taken overnight last night from an address in Hayton Road, Wigram, after offenders broke through a fence.
"This spate of thefts is of real concern," Mr Parnell said.
"But unlike the recent police operations targeting car chop shops, we don't believe these vehicles are destined for being dismantled and scrapped for parts.
"Given the high demand for heavy contracting machinery in Christchurch at present we believe it's highly likely vehicles such as these are being quickly re-painted and re-fitted - or re-birthed and moved back into the local market."
Surveillance of any unusual activity involving commercial vehicles is being stepped up, he said.
"It's almost certain there are people in the construction and contracting industry that know what is going on - and we urge them to come forward."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Christchurch police on 03 3637712, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.