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Car thieves spot a Jucy lockdown target

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Rob Keenan is the interim digital editor of Haynes.com
He runs a Mk2 Ford Focus ST and an aging Mercedes SLK55
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Kiwi car thieves got away with nearly 100 vehicles when they spotted an opportunity too good to miss, thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Jucy, which rents car and motorhomes in Australia, the US and New Zealand, had left dozens of vehicles in storage at its Auckland, NZ, branch while the country was under strict instructions to isolate indoors.

The motors themselves appeared to have been exempt from the lockdown regs, though, because they were unlocked and the keys were inside. All the thieves had to do was remove the compound gate from its hinges and drive the vehicles straight out, in what is possibly New Zealand's biggest car heist.

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The cars and motorhomes were stolen over the Anzac weekend, when there was no one at Jucy around to check on their precious fleet. It was only when police became suspicious about the number of Jucy rentals on the road that the company was informed.

"We came across quite a few of those Jucy vehicles in unusual circumstances, so we assumed they'd been stolen and alerted the company," police inspector Matt Srhoj told the BBC.

Luckily, NZ's community spirit kicked in and locals alerted police when they saw too-cheap-to-be-true cars for sale online. So far, 85 vehicles have been retrieved, with only 12 missing. "People rallied round to help and the police were outstanding to have arrested a lot of people and recover most of the cars," said Jucy's founder, Tim Alpe.

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