Would-be thieves have tried to break into an ATM at a Ngongotaha laundromat using concrete cutters police believe may have been stolen the same day from a Pyes Pa store.

Concrete saws were stolen from the Tauranga branch of Hirepool, near Greerton, early on Friday morning.

Only 40 minutes later two thieves used concrete saws to try break into the ATM at Bubbles Laundromat, Ngongotaha in Rotorua.

Police believe the two crimes are connected.

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Theives stole concrete saws from Hirepool in Greerton. Photo/Stephen Parker
Theives stole concrete saws from Hirepool in Greerton. Photo/Stephen Parker

Rotorua's Bubbles Laundromat owner Lisa, who wanted to be referred to by her first name only, said she was "absolutely gutted".

She said having an ATM in the building hadn't worried her when they chose the store and it actually slightly reduced their rent.

"It didn't worry me then, but it does now," she said. "[Being broken into] feels awful, absolutely gutting."

The laundromat is unmanned and Lisa said she checked the cameras each morning to ensure it wasn't dirty.

"We can check our cameras from home," she said. "I called my partner across because I thought 'What is that on the floor'."

What Lisa was seeing turned out to be shattered glass from the store's fluorescent lighting panels.

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She said it appeared the thieves had tried to break the door lock before smashing through the window.

Once inside they used the concrete saws to break the hinges on the back of the ATM and to destroy the lights.

Thieves used concrete saws stolen from Tauranga to take the back off an ATM in Ngongotaha. Photo/Stephen Parker
Thieves used concrete saws stolen from Tauranga to take the back off an ATM in Ngongotaha. Photo/Stephen Parker

"They worked tirelessly to get through the back of the ATM, sparks were flying," Lisa said.

"Then they took out the lights and glass went everywhere, all over the floor and in the machines.

"I'm very thankful none of our machines were damaged and that it was during the night, when none of my customers were there to be injured."

Lisa said she didn't care about the material things that had to be repaired, she was more concerned about what she considered to be a recent spike in crimes in Ngongotaha.

"There's just been so much crime, it's gutting," she said. "We had alarms and security cameras, they still did it. What can you do? You've just gotta hope."

Pizza NZ, next to the laundromat, also has an ATM but manager Supreet Singh said he was confident in the alarm systems they had in place.

"Here we have the back of ours covered, so no one can see it or have the chance to plan getting in," he said. "Ngongotaha is getting worse, every month something happens."

The thieves were unable to get any money and, as soon as the backdoor on the ATM was dislodged, an alarm was sent to BNZ. Hirepool did not wish to comment.

A BNZ spokeswoman said it had always recognised ATMs could attract the attention of criminals.

"That's why from the design to the everyday use, security is always a significant component," she said. "This emphasis continues to keep ATMs secure."

A police media spokeswoman said inquiries were ongoing.

"Police would like to hear from anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the area of Ngongotaha Rd, Rotorua in the early hours of Friday morning," she said.

Anyone with information can contact Rotorua police on (07) 349 9400 Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.