Police are investigating a major break-in at a South Auckland car rental yard where almost 100 vehicles were stolen on Friday night.
Inspector Matt Srhoj, Counties Manukau West Area Commander, told the Herald it is believed around 100 vehicles, registered to Jucy Rentals, were stolen from the company's Mangere yard.
The exact number could not be confirmed until a full stocktake of all Jucy yards was complete, he said.
So far, close to 20 vehicles have been located by police in Otara, Mangere and Papatoetoe but dozens more remain missing.
Police had increased its patrols in the area and inquiries were made over the weekend.
Srhoj said multiple arrests had been made in relation to the stolen vehicles.
The stolen vehicles were Holden Captivas, Mazda 3s or Suzuki Swifts and were plain without branding, making them not easily identifiable as a Jucy rental vehicle, Srhoj said.
He said this incident was an unfortunate reminder for rental vehicle companies to ensure they have good security measures and practices in place.
Jucy Rentals chief executive Tim Alpe said the thefts could not have come at a worse time for their business, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions.
The Jucy Rentals vehicles were taken from a secure facility and were destined to be used by Kiwi workers as the country scales down from the Covid-19 alert level 4 to level 2.
"Jucy is facing significant challenges at the moment. Our once-thriving business has been decimated by Covid-19, which has impacted the livelihoods of hundreds of workers," a spokesman for the company said.
"The stolen vehicles would have been used by a range of Kiwis who were returning to work as the country moved to level 2. Thefts from any Kiwi businesses at this time are particularly callous."
He said the complex logistics involved in transporting a large number of vehicles suggest the theft had been organised and involved a number of people.
Police inquiries were ongoing into the theft and the whereabouts of the outstanding stolen vehicles.
Police say they want to hear from anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles which match the above descriptions.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Counties Manukau Police by phoning 105 and quoting file number 200426/2493.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers by phoning 0800 555 111.