TRADIES say they are being targeted by thieves who are ripping hard working locals of their tools and livelihoods.
Police are warning Ballarat tradies to safeguard their tools and, if possible, keep them stowed inside.
Warehouse owner Gary Curnow said he was set back nearly $30,000 when every single tool he owned was stripped from his Delacombe warehouse, packed into his ute and stolen by thieves.
A number of other trades people have taken to social media after their utes were broken into and tens of thousands of dollars of tools stolen. Ballarat Senior Sergeant Neale Robinson said in the past when locked ute canopies were broken into, tradies had been warned to take their tools inside.
Mr Curnow has still not managed to re-purchase tools months after the devastating robbery because he simply cannot afford to. He believes a full replacement will take him at least 12 months to achieve.
“They basically broke into our Elizabeth Street warehouse and loaded the truck up … and took every tool,” Mr Curnow said.
“I’ve got a domestic fencing business and I employ six to seven guys. I had to lay of a couple for a few weeks and cancel jobs for two weeks.”
He is not the only tradesman who has been robbed of important tools. Local carpenter Ben Owen’s lock-up ute canopy was broken into last Thursday.
“I hadn’t felt the full impact of what has happened up until today, my first day back and the bloke I’m working for is already sick of me not having any tools to work with,” Mr Owen said.
Mr Owen’s tools are easily identifiable. Most are either engraved or spray painted.
“I’m gutted. I’ve not only had my tools broken but it is impacting my work.”
In a devastating twist of irony, Mr Owen was in the midst of moving out of Sebastopol at time and had just taken down his CCTV cameras. He said 10 other thefts had occurred in the area that night. The cameras had been installed as a preventative measure, after Mr Owen’s shed had been broken into multiple times. He requires his tools to be able to do his work. The theft happened only a week after he had gone out on his own as a carpenter.
“It’s hard. I don’t have any tools left. I’ve lost two days of work. I’ve lost the value of tools, it’s costing me, it’s costing him (my boss),” Mr Owen said. He did not believe the thieves realised the devastating impact their brazen actions were having.
“I think they are self-centred and take them because they can make quick cash.”
CrimeStoppers: 1800 333 000.
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