Sinister trend targeting tradies leaves Aussie dad $14k out of pocket

A new dad has fallen victim to a sinister trend targeting tradies across Australia, leaving him thousands out of pocket. The unfair act has also “severely limited” Chris Wall’s ability to work and provide for his family.

Up to $14,000 worth of tools were snatched from the carpenter’s vehicle parked outside his Melbourne home last Wednesday, with CCTV footage apparently capturing the thieves in action. It’s a problem costing Victorian tradies up to $20 million a year, according to The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) — but it’s a rising trend in states and territories across the country.

Wall, who not long ago welcomed his first child with partner Jaimie, said the brazen act was carried out in the early hours of the morning. He was sitting on the couch at the time, he told Yahoo News Australia, completely unaware that his Isuzu D-Max ute was being raided.

“They basically pull up to the side of my car (parked on the street) for six or seven minutes, and they go through all my storage tubs in the back (of my vehicle) — then they threw it in the back of their ute and drove off,” he said describing what he saw in his neighbor’s security footage.

CCTV from Wall’s neighbor shows another ute pull up to his ute before driving off after a few minutes. Source: Supplied

“They took everything like my batteries, all my cordless tools, a bag of hand tools and a whole bunch of other stuff,” he explained, estimating the total value one between $12k and $14k.

“I’m still an apprentice at the moment, so I’m obviously not earning as much as all the qualified guys,” the dad-of-one continued, admitting it would likely take some time to replace what he has lost.

Wall said he only realized when he walked outside to leave for work at roughly 7am. He saw the door of his toolbox, on the back of his vehicle, open when it had been locked. He knew right away that “everything was probably gone.” “And it was,” he said. “About 90 per cent of my stuff was gone.”

The dad, who lives in Balwyn, Victoria, quickly phoned the police before asking his neighbor to check security footage where he saw what he had played out. Victoria Police confirmed to Yahoo an investigation is ongoing.

Several tubs containing a range of hand and power tools were emptied, leaving Wall with nothing. Source: Supplied

The timing couldn’t have been worse with the couple not long ago welcoming a baby “I had a little bit of savings, but not a whole lot, so he’s taken up a fair whack of my savings,” Wall explained. Along with needing to replace the tools he relies on daily to do his job, the saddened dad admitted there’s now “certain jobs I can’t do.”

“As a carpenter, I use all my tools on a daily basis. So I’ve been borrowing little bits and pieces here and there from the guys at work while I try and organize my finances (to buy more),” he said. “But it also means I can’t take certain jobs because on many sites you have to be a bit more autonomous and have all your own stuff.”

He’s been left with no choice but to borrow money from friends, family and friends with a GoFundMe page set up to help the family.

Chris and his partner Jaimie not long ago welcomed their first son. Source: Supplied

Theft of tradies’ tools, while on the rise, has been a troubling issue for some years. According to RACV, they’re a prime target “because they’re high value and easily portable.” Often it takes years to build up a collection only to lose it all in an instant.

“Talking to guys I work with it seems almost everybody that I speak with knows someone that’s been knocked off,” Wall said. His former boss had his “whole van cleared out.”

“It’s happening all over the place,” he said.

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