Police urge tradies to keep tools safe

New South Wales and Queensland Police have urged tradespeople to safeguard their gear as a spate of tool thefts strike the states.

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

New South Wales and Queensland Police have urged tradespeople to safeguard their gear as a wave of tool thefts strike the states.

The warning comes as Australia tackles a nationwide youth crime problem, with tradies seeing a rise in vehicle break-ins and tool thefts.

Thieves often resell the stolen equipment using Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, or secondhand retail stores.

NSW Police Force’s Crime Prevention Commander Superintendent Chris Nicholson said thieves are generally opportunistic, and simple security steps could deter them from targeting expensive tools and equipment.

“There are some steps tradespeople can take to help safeguard their possessions – these include not leaving tools and equipment in their vehicle or at worksites overnight,” Supt Nicholson told Build-it.

“Invest in a lockable storage box to store tools, remove any documents from your vehicle which could reveal where you live, not hiding spare keys inside or under your vehicle, photograph and record details of tools and equipment and even engraving or marking tools with your driver’s licence number,” he said.

Tool theft has also become a significant issue in Queensland, with Toowoomba carpenter Keilan Weston losing $25,000 of equipment after his ute was broken into.

The thieves stole 20 Milwaukee power tools, a Milwaukee finish gun, 15 Milwaukee batteries, a nail bag and a container of drill bits, leaving Mr Weston able to work once he sourced replacements.

“(They) pinched the fridge off the back of my ute and went through my trailer and emptied the entire trailer,” he said via TikTok.

“Every single thing in that trailer is gone, nothing left…about $20,000, $25,000 worth of s*** was in that trailer.”

Build-it’s top ten easy tips to flip off tool thieves:

  1. Keep your vehicle doors, windows and storage locked, even when working on-site.
  2. Don’t leave expensive tools and equipment in your vehicle or at worksites overnight.
  3. Invest in a lockable storage box.
  4. Don’t leave anything of value visible inside your vehicle.
  5. Don’t hide spare keys inside or underneath your vehicle.
  6. Remove any documents from your vehicle which reveal where you live.
  7. Engrave or mark your tools with your driver’s licence number.
  8. Photograph and record details of expensive tools or equipment.
  9. Install CCTV facing where your vehicle is parked.
  10. Install door and tray alarm systems.

Queensland Police also advised marking tools and keeping a photographic inventory, which can help find stolen equipment.

Meanwhile, NSW Superintendent Nicholson encouraged tradies to step forward and report anything suspicious to give police the upper hand.

“We also call on the community to act as our eyes and ears – if you see anything suspicious, report this to your local police to investigate,” he said.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.