A Whangārei electrician found himself stranded on a Domino's Pizza rooftop when thieves nicked his ladder mid-job.
Chilltech electrician and refrigeration engineer Tom Clancey was pulled from his father-in-law's birthday celebrations at the Parua Bay Tavern to repair the walk-in chiller at Domino's Kamo around 9pm on Saturday.
Instead of enjoying a birthday toast, the 35-year-old spent 20 minutes on a rooftop waiting for a Domino's employee to rush home, grab a spare ladder, and rescue a stuck Clancey.
"I was just out trying to do my job. This is something that you just don't want to have happen to you," Clancey said.
To complete the repair, Clancey had climbed on to the roof by setting his aluminium ladder up at the lowest point by Liquorland Kamo and walked 30m to the Domino's roof, with the ladder out of view.
"I tied the ladder off and roped everything up so it was secure and I could hoist my tools up. When I was finished I got to the corner of the roof and I was like, something is missing."
He phoned the staff at Domino's to ask if they had accidentally removed the ladder but was told they hadn't.
Instead, Clancey waited patiently as a Domino's worker rushed home to get a spare ladder to help get the trapped engineer down.
Clancey said whoever took his ladder, alongside the ties and high strength marine rope, had to climb the rungs and untie it before they could flee with their loot.
"No-one that I talked to saw anything. I looked around the area to see if they'd ditched it in a bush or somewhere but didn't find it."
The incident is the first untoward event in his 18 years on the job, Clancey said. Even his colleagues didn't have stories to match his ordeal.
"They were dumbfounded that something like this has happened."
Chilltech would have to replace the ladder which is part of Clancey's work equipment, he said.
At the time of edition, Clancey had not reported the theft to police.
The theft is the latest workers have experienced in the region after volunteer Hikurangi firefighter and Northland Farm Services Limited service technician Brad Ratford had $8000 of equipment stolen from his ute while he helped at a community fireworks display earlier this month.
Northland Farm Services director Grant Shaw said theft was nothing new for his business or their employees.
"I have had whole trucks go missing. Five years ago I had a home invasion to get the keys to my ute."
And in October thieves stole about $14,000 of tools from tradies working on the Baylys Beach community centre, among a spate of thefts from work sites or tradies' vehicles.
Senior Sergeant Rob Huys said police take crimes such as burglaries and thefts seriously.
"In general, police know that many burglary and theft incidents can be opportunistic in nature ... we have a dedicated team committed to investigating these types of offences so we can hold these offenders to account."
He urged people to help apprehend offenders by reporting any suspicious activity immediately.
Anyone who sees any suspicious activity, such as people loitering around and looking into vehicles is asked to call Police on 111.
HOT TIPS TO PREVENT THEFTS OF GEAR
● Never leave valuables in your car
● Ensure your vehicle is locked and secure at all times
● Consider other security measures such as car alarms and/or a steering lock
● If you have to leave work tools in your vehicle park somewhere secure and out of sight of people walking by such as in a garage or gated driveway.
● Engrave your tools with your driver's licence number so police can identify the owners of tools that have been recovered