Thieves take tools of trade

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Andre Mendes da Costa is going to have to start from scratch after thieves raided his storage shed on Waitangi weekend. PHOTO/ALISA YONG
Andre Mendes da Costa is going to have to start from scratch after thieves raided his storage shed on Waitangi weekend. PHOTO/ALISA YONG

A self-employed Masterton man has been left without the tools of his trade after burglars made off with thousands of dollars' worth of equipment from his Ngaumutawa Rd storage shed in a targeted raid.

When leather upholstery specialist Andre Mendes da Costa returned to work after his summer holiday over Waitangi weekend, he discovered burglars had raided his shed, taking everything from tools to the iceblocks in the freezer.

Mr Mendes da Costa said the burglars had cut through three or four padlocks to gain entry to the shed in what appeared to be a targeted break-in.

He discovered the burglary on Tuesday but had been told several people had seen a dark green van inside the compound on Monday night.

About $2000 to $3000 worth of equipment, including air tools, an air compressor, a hydraulic hoist, heat gun and cleaning equipment were taken, with the burglars even taking food and drink from the fridge.

Mr Mendes da Costa said he had been flat out with jobs since before Christmas and last weekend was the first time off he'd had with his family all summer.

"My heart sank when I saw the gate open and I thought that was unusual, and then I saw the padlock was missing and the padlock was gone from the door and that was when I had the sinking feeling ... it's pretty gutting."

Almost all his work tools had been taken and, as they were not covered by insurance, he would now have to start from scratch, he said.

"This is just really going to set me back. It's not going to cripple me, it's just a major headache.

"Much of my work needed that specialist equipment. I can start but when it gets to the finishing I'll need more tools. It's going to set me back in terms of finishing and mainly just the time the people who are waiting is going to be longer."

It was the first break-in since he had been using the shed and he believed the burglars had deliberately targeted the equipment.

Some of the tools such as the hoist could be used in a variety of industries, but others were only for leather work, he said.

"It's very specialised. It would be no use to anyone else -- most of the tools are for upholstery. They are probably just going to be thrown away."

He had saved up for much of the equipment and built up his stock of tools since starting his own business in 2012. Car parts had also been stolen from a neighbouring storage shed, he said.

Senior Sergeant Gordon Crawley, of Masterton Police, said the burglary was one of 14 in Wairarapa reported to police in the past week. He was unsure how many of these were commercial burglaries.

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