Police are still looking for the man who stole a utility, with three hunting dogs and two firearms on board, from Kaitaia's main street early on Thursday morning, but revealed yesterday that they had a CCTV image of the suspect.

Meanwhile the owner of the vehicle, who wishes to be identified only as Scott, said last week that he was worried for the safety of his dogs, Jocko, Strap and Hairy, which had been in a plywood box on the back of the 2008 gold-coloured Mazda BT-50 ute, registration HRE479.

He had parked the ute on Commerce St at around 5.30am, withdrawn some money from the ANZ cash machine, then crossed the road to the Coast 2 Coast bakery to get breakfast when a man got into the vehicle and drove away. Never more than 30 metres away, he had left the keys in the ignition.

Scott's major concern was for his dogs, which he said he had has spent years training.


"I just want them back. It takes a lot of time and money to get them to a level where they are great hunters and can provide for you," he said.

"They end up becoming part of your family, and they help you put food on the table. [And] we give plenty of wild pork away to other families."

He had owned the dogs since they were puppies, and valued them at around $3000.

He had stopped to get cash and food on his way to collect his uncle, intending to head north on 90 Mile Beach for three days of fishing and pig hunting. He had packed the ute, actually owned by his mother, with all the gear needed, and estimated that around $8000 worth of equipment had been stolen.

Police are appealing to anyone who sees, or has seen, the vehicle to call 111 immediately, Senior Sergeant Russell Richards expressing particular concern regarding the firearms and the welfare of three dogs.