Hapless thieves dig themselves a hole after stealing digger with GPS tracker attached, in full view of witness

The digger was stolen from Tikipunga in the early hours of Monday morning. Photo / Supplied

Two men appear to have dug themselves a legal hole after stealing a three-tonne digger with a GPS tracker attached to it.

The men committed the alleged theft in Tikipunga, Whangarei in full view of a witness, and were caught with not only the $150,000 digger and its trailer, but an allegedly stolen vehicle.

A witness had watched the men drive off with the yellow digger on a trailer about 2.15am on January 30, acting Senior Sergeant Mark Brown said.

However, a GPS tracker was attached to the digger.


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A witness informed Whangārei police about the theft while it was still in progress and officers headed to the digger’s location, using the GPS tracker.

Police then devised a plan – with police emergency communications operators – to catch the two offenders in the act, laying down road spikes to stop the vehicle.

Two men were then arrested after their tyres were deflated by the spikes on Kirikopuni Valley Rd.

The thieves attached the digger trailer on to a vehicle which also turned out to be allegedly stolen. Photo / Supplied
The thieves attached the digger trailer on to a vehicle which also turned out to be allegedly stolen. Photo / Supplied

“Working together with a community member helped stop these thieves in their tracks,” Brown said.


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“We are thrilled to be able to return the digger, worth around $150,000 to the owner and we want to acknowledge information received which has helped us resolve this incident quickly.

“Their information played a significant role in the swift arrests which enabled the recovery of the property.”

Further inquiries showed the car the offenders were driving on the night of the theft was allegedly stolen.

A 46-year-old man and a 23-year-old man, both from Northland, were jointly charged with burglary and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

They will be appearing before the Whangārei District Court at a later date.

Brown asked people to call 111 if they see something illegal or suspicious happening right now. If it has already happened, he asked people to provide information via the police non-emergency number 105, or online at 105.police.govt.nz

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