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New Zealand coronavirus: Massive car heist under cover of lockdown

It must have looked like the heist of their dreams. A whole yard full of well-maintained rental vehicles, all lined up, unlocked and ready to go – with the keys inside.

So, under cover of New Zealand’s exceptionally strict virus lockdown, a group of thieves went to work.

They cut through the fence of local rental company Jucy in Auckland, lifted the gate from its hinges and began driving out the cars.

New Zealand was at a virtual standstill under the coronavirus lockdown making the theft easy. In fact, so easy it was a temptation too far – and the thieves came back for a second helping.

A total of 97 vehicles were spirited away.

Over several days on a long weekend, they drove the cars in batches from the site and down the deserted roads of Auckland.

“It was like a kick in the guts to be honest,” Tom Ruddenklau, Jucy’s chief rental officer, told the BBC. “We couldn’t believe that when everyone was pitching in and looking after each other as a nation, there would be this brazen theft.”

Jucy is a well-known sight on the roads of New Zealand. If you’ve ever been there, it will likely ring a bell. They are among the leading providers of camper vans, one of the most popular ways to explore the country.

The vans’ bright green signature colour is so easy to spot that stealing them would seem downright foolish. Hence, most of the vehicles stolen were normal city cars and only a few were camper vans.


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