After losing more than $7000 worth of specialist equipment from the back of his van while he was preparing for a charity fundraiser, Whangarei audio-visual technician Tim Bell will now benefit from a fundraising concert after his stolen gear was not found.

Mr Bell, from Belltech Audio Visual Equipment Rental Service, was setting up his sound and lighting equipment in Whangarei's Old Stone Butter Factory about 3.15pm on May 19, for a Ronald McDonald House charity fundraising event later that evening.

He parked his van in Butter Factory Lane, and in between loads thieves entered the van and took an Allen and Heath QU16 mixing deck worth about $4000 and a Theatrelite Nova 36 lighting desk worth $3000.

Despite extensive publicity, and the word being spread far and wide in the audiovisual community, the stolen gear has not been found and he is now about $8500 out of pocket after having to replace and upgrade it.


So the Butter Factory has organised a fundraising concert to help out, with seven Northland bands - Moondog Blues, Mermaid Bait, Spiral, TwoKay, 5K, The Gold Cloaks and Wavepig - lined up for the June 24 fundraiser at the venue.

Mr Bell said he was grateful for all the help he has received since the theft, particularly the Butter Factory for organising the fundraiser.

"We had no luck getting them back, unfortunately. The CCTV camera in Laurie Hall Park missed it as it was turning the other way, but it did manage to catch us looking very dismayed (at the theft). So I've had to replace them with a flexi-lease.

"[The stolen gear is] going to be pretty useless to anybody unless they are an audio engineer - it can't just be hooked up to your home theatre or stereo set-up - and the industry here is fairly small and I know most of them, so it's going to be very difficult to sell."

The "Fundy Shindig" is from 6pm, with a $10 cover charge. All money collected will go towards replacing the stolen equipment, with the Old Stone Butter Factory adding further funds, plus any extra donations and sponsorship.

Anybody with information on the theft can contact Whangarei police on (09) 430 4500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.