Car thieves boasting the Facebook nicknames "Makeuwalk" and "Jackeduaride" are being sought by police in connection with thefts from Wellington car parks.
Police are asking for the public's help in combating the Lower Hutt network, who have a known taste for high-performance cars.
One man whose Subaru Impreza racing car was stolen from the Wilson's car park under TSB Arena on November 24 said he parked there thinking it would be safe under cover.
But 20 minutes later Isaac Carlson heard his car from nearby, then saw it being driven past.
"It was pretty devastating to see it drive off like that," he said. "You kind of think in one of those lockup car parks it will be safe, but that's not the case."
The $25,000 car, which had another $25,000 worth of alterations, was usually locked away in Wairarapa between races but was in Wellington to have tyres fitted for an upcoming race. It was not insured, since policies did not cover races.
It was the third of his modified Subaru Imprezas to be stolen in Wellington in the past six years, and he said he would think twice before buying another. But all motorsport cars were a target for thieves.
He was told his car was most probably taken by a known ring of car thieves.
Sergeant Mike Sarten, of Hutt Valley, said the Lower Hutt group regularly boasted about car theft on Facebook and were known to target Wellington car parks.
They went for certain types of high-end cars, such as Mr Carlson's. "They are quite sophisticated and will follow people around until they have a moment of vulnerability. They're very good at what they do."
Their Facebook middle names - "Makeuwalk", "Jackeduaride", and "Stoleurcar" - were "a little bit in your face", and if he could figure out a way to have them removed, he would.
"For me, I know all these guys well.
"We have caught them in the past, and will catch them in the future."
One of the suspects had once been caught with a stolen, uninsured $100,000 jet boat after the owner hired a helicopter to fly above Lower Hutt to find it.
It was quite a problem for Wellington, and police would like the public's help to combat the group. "I know that they exist, I know what they do, and if the opportunity arises, I will prosecute them."
Wellington police area tactical co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Hamish Milne said there was a significant focus on vehicle crime in car parking areas, and police were analysing hot spots in the city.
Wilson Parking chief executive officer Steve Evans said there was no evidence the Queens Wharf car park was being targeted by thieves. The company was providing police with CCTV footage of reported crimes.
- © Fairfax NZ News