An Auckland man is "broken" after an opportunistic thief stole his truck, digger and tools, robbing him of his "entire livelihood", according to his partner.
The robbery has devastated Craig Hodgkinson, a man who has spent the last three years building up his drainlaying business from scratch.
On Thursday, March 25, Craig left the family home in Titirangi and commuted to Eastern Beach to meet with a new client. The truck was loaded with his Bobcat digger and his tools, including a spade, wheelbarrow, concrete saw and ramps.
After meeting with the client, Craig returned to his vehicle - but it was no longer there.
Dayna Rutherfurd, Craig's partner, said he was away from the truck for all of 10 minutes.
"They drove away with everything he had worked for [over] the last three years," she said.
After striking out on his own, Craig has worked hard to establish himself as an independent contractor. Some weeks the family struggled to get by, Dayna said, but her partner continued to push his "one-man business" along.
But the robbery of his tools and vehicles has lost Craig his "entire livelihood".
"I work full time, we work week-to-week, we rent - we started from nothing. We have children to support," she told Newshub.
"He's literally at home right now, a mess. He's lost everything he accumulated.
"This is devastating… he is lost. His whole livelihood, gone."
Dayna admitted that due to the impacts of the ongoing pandemic and high premiums, their insurance had not been renewed at the time of the theft. She said she wants to be transparent about the circumstances, which has left the couple without a safety net.
She is concerned the loss of his business might impact Craig's mental health, acknowledging that his work is tied deeply to his sense of purpose.
"Talking to him this morning, he is broken. He feels like he has lost his identity," she said.
"It is a very helpless and hopeless feeling right now."
Dayna has since created a Givealittle page to help fund replacements for the stolen tools. Without his spade or wheelbarrow, Craig cannot even hand-dig in the interim - but Dayna hopes he can at least continue to move forward with the money raised.
"I thought to set this up just as a way to try and show him that people care. He isn't a big social media guy, but I wanted him to feel supported and to know he's not alone," she explained.
At the time of writing, 25 donors have raised almost $2800 for Dayna and Craig.
Dayna hopes that by widening their reach, there is still a chance the vehicle or tools might be returned.
"He is a lovely man, works hard for his clients and his friends, gives up his weekends and his time for people in his life. It's hard to see him so broken."
If anyone has any information on the stolen vehicle, contact Police by calling 105 and quoting reference number 210325-8837. If the vehicle is spotted, Police can be contacted immediately on 111.