Wellington police recover huge cache of stolen property

By Contributor

Some of the bicycles police found. Source/NZ Police

Wanted: Owners of 285 bicycles, 950 power tools, 695 pieces of tapware and mixes, two baths and a whole lot of construction gear.

Police who disrupted a major theft and burglary ring in Wellington last month have catalogued more than 3000 stolen items – from bicycles to bathtaps – in the hope of reuniting them with their owners.

Operation Trump Card has uncovered a huge cache of stolen property – which was seized from residential properties and 15 commercial storage units.

The disruption of this significant property ring will see Wellington residents reunited with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of goods.

Wellington District Criminal Investigations Manager Detective Inspector John van den Heuvel says staff have never before encountered a stolen goods ring of this scale.

“Police continue to put an enormous amount of work into unravelling this ring and holding those involved accountable.

Missing your bath?

“We have such an eclectic range of items that we now need to give back to the people of Wellington.

“We have identified the property as having been stolen from as far away as Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa, dating back as far as two years,” says Detective Inspector van den Heuvel.

Some of the inventory includes 285 bikes, two baths, 950 power tools, 10 generators, eight concrete cutters,10 infinity gas heaters, 695 new and packaged tapware and mixes, 46 Fujitsu heat pumps, 33 laptops, eight computers, 132 household appliances/whiteware and 27 e-scooters.

Two men and one woman have been charged with dishonesty offences and are next due to appear in Wellington District Court on February 24, 2023.

Further arrests and charges are likely.

Wellington Police now have to match up stolen items with rightful owners.

“Being in a position to finally return goods to people who had to go through the anguish of having their property stolen is a real privilege for Police,” van den Heuvel says.

A small number of the tools recovered

Some matches made

“The scale of the property recovered is representative of the huge mumber of people that have been affected by the actions of those facing charges.

“Our number one priority now is to work with victims and return their property to them.

“The sheer volume of items has taken a long time for staff to catalogue, process as evidence, and prepare for the community to reclaim their property.”

Police have already been able to match a lot of the stolen property to owners that reported the theft at the time their property was taken.

Police encourage anyone who has had property stolen but has not reported the theft, to do so, and provide a description of their item. 

Reports can be made by filling out a 105 report online quoting Operation Trump Card.

Police will contact individuals with the next steps once property can be matched with their owners.