While the country was in lockdown over the Anzac weekend, thieves broke into a South Auckland car rental yard and stole almost 100 cars.

Police say they were tipped off to the large-scale theft after multiple, suspicious vehicles failed to stop for officers.

Further inquiries showed the vehicles were registered to Jucy Rentals.

"A number" of vehicles have since been found at Ōtara, Māngere and Papatoetoe addresses, a police spokesman said.

Advertisement

Jucy Rentals chief executive Tim Alpe said he was devastated by the theft, which could not have come at a worse time for the company.

"The stolen vehicles would have been used by a range of Kiwis who were returning to work as the country moved to level 2," he said.

"At Jucy, we have about two-and-a-half thousand vehicles across New Zealand - cars and campervans, so it's a significant number that has been taken from us."

At least 35 of the stolen vehicles had been recovered by police as of Monday afternoon, he said.

Staff were checking their stock of rentals across the company's multiple sites so see if any more were missing.

Tim Alpe, chief executive of Jucy Group Limited, says he devastated at the theft. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Tim Alpe, chief executive of Jucy Group Limited, says he devastated at the theft. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Alpe said he believed the theft occurred on Saturday, Anzac Day.

"There's a full police investigation at this stage, as well as an internal one to understand how many vehicles were taken, but it's at least 60," he said.

Inspector Matt Srhoj, Counties Manukau West Area Commander, earlier told the Herald it was believed around 100 vehicles, registered to Jucy Rentals, were stolen from the company's Māngere yard.

Advertisement

"We're a big operation, but it's just devastating right now, when tourism's just been decimated," Alpe said.

"To have to go through this as well is just horrific."

READ MORE:
Covid 19 coronavirus: Botany testing tent stolen
Covid 19 coronavirus: Emergency nurse's car stolen; vital medical equipment lost
Covid 19 coronavirus: Napier medical centre's screen stolen
Coronavirus: Heartless thieves stealing hand sanitiser from cancer ward

Police had increased patrols in the area and inquiries were made over the weekend, a spokesman said.

"The investigation is ongoing into the theft and police are continuing our inquiries to establish exactly when and how the thefts took place."

The stolen vehicles were Holden Captivas, Mazda 3s or Suzuki Swifts and were plain without branding, making them not easily identifiable as Jucy rental vehicles, Srhoj said.

Advertisement

Police say they want to hear from anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles which match the above descriptions.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Counties Manukau Police by phoning 105 and quoting file number 200426/2493.

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers by phoning 0800 555 111.