The Havelock North community needs to raise more awareness around opportunistic thieves.

These are the words of Peak Mowers owner Andrew McDonald, who has been the target of three thefts in only two months.

He puts it down the opportunists taking advantage of the typical laid-back Kiwi attitude, which is more common in smaller communities such as Havelock North.

Gone are the days when drivers could leave their keys in the car and pop into the service station, but McDonald said some people still haven't cottoned on to that.


"This is the new norm and people need to know about it, people need to take notice of what's going on. They need to communicate with their neighbours and peers to raise awareness and make sure that their community is safe," he said.

On April 10, a vehicle belonging to a Peak Mowers employee was stolen outside his workplace.

"My mechanic's vehicle got stolen from right out in front of us - he'd shot inside for only a few moments and left the keys in the car."

Not only was the vehicle taken, but McDonald said the thief made good use of his employee's paywave card left inside.

"This guy went straight into the service stations and within two hours he had siphoned out around $600.

"My mechanic shot over to the bank to cancel his cards, his partner was waiting for him inside the car, then sees the work vehicle drive straight past her."

The woman followed the stolen vehicle to an address in Havelock North, called the police and the vehicle was returned.

But it was stolen again two days later - by the same person, according to McDonald.


"I was straight after him, thankfully I knew he was off down Napier Rd so the police managed to nab him in Clive.

"We got the vehicle and now the guy's in jail."

McDonald said more trouble occurred when the business was broken into and goods were stolen on July 1.

"I had CCTV in the shop, so I knew who it was and got the rego for the car."

McDonald said police yesterday visited a person who admitted to taking the goods.

On July 5 McDonald saw another vehicle being stolen from the forecourt at Mobil in Havelock North.

"I don't know if you've heard the term 'drive it like you stole it' but this guy was going for it," he said.

"If it had been 20 minutes earlier, there would have been a lot of kids about on their bikes and scooters after school, so it was very lucky that no one got hurt."

The MP for Tukituki, National's Lawrence Yule, visited McDonald after hearing about the burglary of his business.

"They've done everything right in terms of installing cameras and taking all the right precautions, and as a result the perpetrator has been caught. But they haven't got their goods back, so they're out of pocket.

"They're saying we need more resources and we need more police and I fundamentally agree with that, and I did in my previous role when I was the mayor of Hastings," Yule said.

The new Government has promised 1100 new officers across the nation over the next four years but Yule said that won't put an instant stop to crime.

"It's going to take a few years for them to train these new officers, so these business owners are saying that residents need to be very vigilant and report any suspicious activity, because if it looks suspicious it will be.

"Because we have such an alarming level of domestic violence, that can take priority over the current police force, meaning that some burglaries can take lower priority compared to others."

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the police were under-resourced in Hawke's Bay.

"This is the reason why we are rolling out these 1800 front line officers over the next three years- the Eastern district (which is ours) and the Northern District are the two priority areas, but we've just got to get more people trained."

"If you do see something suspicious or you're a victim of low-level crime, don't think 'I'm not going to report it because the police are too busy'. Always report it, because often that's the piece of the jigsaw that's needed to complete the picture."