In the past six months in the Bay of Plenty, nearly 400 vehicle thefts have been reported. While a wide range of vehicle makes and models are among those stolen, there are several which are popular with thieves. Does your car make the list? David Beck reports.
The vehicles stolen most often in Bay of Plenty in the past six months have been revealed and police have noted a move away from the norm.
Four of the top five most stolen vehicles are utility vehicles (utes).
Coming in first is the Toyota Hilux, 32 of which have been stolen in the past six months.
Second is the Ford Courier with 26, third is the Holden Commodore - the only non-ute in the top five - with 14 stolen.
Rounding out the top five are the Nissan Navara and Mazda Bounty utes with 13 each.
Rotorua Police Inspector Brendon Keenan said police had noted a change in the types of vehicles targeted by thieves in the Bay of Plenty in recent months.
"Historically, smaller vehicles have been the focus, however, utility vehicles (utes), especially Toyotas and Fords, are now targeted more frequently," he said.
"In some cases, we know that stolen utes have been used in burglaries to force entry into the building, otherwise known as ram-raids."
Keenan said often the older models of these utes were easy to break into and the manual versions were attractive to thieves who wanted to participate in road-related offending such as "burnouts".
"Any older vehicle, no matter what the model or make, typically will not have an immobiliser or alarm which will make it susceptible to thieves."
For eight years, Rotorua resident Jake Krebs was the proud owner of a Ford Courier ute.
In March this year, that ute was stolen from his home in Lynmore and used in a ram-raid at the GAS service station on State Highway 30, Lake Rotoma.
Krebs was at work when the police called and asked him if he knew where his ute was.
He told them, as far as he knew, it was at home and that is when they informed him it had been stolen and used in a ram-raid.
"I was pretty gutted, it was a good ute. I'd had it since 2014 and kept it in pretty good condition," he said.
"They ended up recovering the ute but it was too smashed up and it was a write-off. They ram-raided in Rotoma, then it was in a police chase in Kawerau. It was pretty smashed up."
Krebs said knowing the car he'd owned for so long had been used in such a way felt invasive.
While the vehicle was covered by insurance, it took some time to get that and a new car sorted out.
"Knowing that these little b****** came on to my house, that's what p****** me off, that they'd come on to my property and just take what they want. It was right by the house, probably six metres away from my room.
"It didn't really surprise me, because these sorts of things are so common now, but it's still not want you want to hear first thing in the morning."
His new car has an alarm system and he has had alarms installed in other cars at the house in an effort to prevent further thefts.
"It is sad that we have to do that but we had to up the security a bit."
NZ Police advice to prevent car theft
• Lock your vehicle.
• If you can keep it in a garage, do so.
• Install an alarm or steering wheel locks to vehicles if they don't have them.
• Use of sensor lighting and CCTV to monitor areas where vehicles are typically parked.
• Consider parking susceptible models in behind newer vehicles on the driveway preventing them being removed.
• Never leave valuables in your car especially wallets, cash, bank cards etc.