Christchurch IT firms have been plagued by a spate of thefts in recent weeks, raising concerns stolen goods may circulate in the market.
At least four businesses (three on one street) and a distribution house have been targeted by burglars, local firms say.
Waltham-based PC Rentals had up to $20,000 worth of HP desktops and plasma screens stolen late last month, and branch manager Andrew Miller says the street his business is on, in an industrial suburb, has been badly affected.
“There’s been a hive of activity I guess are the words you’d use at the moment,” Miller says.
Detective Sergeant Todd Hamilton of the Christchurch police says more than 50 laptops and a few printers and monitors were taken from a distribution warehouse on October 23 in a haul worth around $100,000.
He says two PC companies were hit in the four weeks prior and there have also been thefts of laptops from houses.
“The target of choice seems to be laptops at the moment,” Todd says
PC Rentals’ Miller says he hopes the stolen equipment will need fixing in future so a repair shop can take note of the serial numbers and contact the police.
PC Direct owner Alan Donoghue says his store, on the same street as PC Rentals, was broken into a couple of months ago and he has since installed more security cameras and packs all stock away at night. He says thieves only took empty boxes and a case.
Donoghue has considered shifting his company out of the area following large rises in insurance premiums. He says the street is dark and he wants to petition the council for outdoor cameras.
He says he had heard the distribution house was burgled on Labour Weekend, and says other firms targeted by thieves were The Computer Broker (on the same street as PC Rentals and PC Direct) and PCs Unlimited (in a neighbouring street in Waltham).
Director of The Computer Broker, Murray McPhail, says the company had its windows smashed about a month ago, but describes the incident as “pure vandalism”.
“It’s just a sheer cost when you’ve got a thousand dollar excess on your window glass,” he says.