Covid 19 coronavirus: Auckland burglars steal crucial vaccine freezer component

A Covid-19 vaccine storage component has been stolen from an Auckland industrial complex.

CCTV footage shows two thieves breaking into the complex in the early hours of Saturday morning and stealing a custom-made copper heat exchanger required to complete a -80C vaccine freezer room which is being built.

The thieves broke open a gate to the Penrose complex about 3.30am to access the premises in a Silver Sudan with stolen plates.

The heat exchanger was being kept in a crate, bolted to the floor, which the thieves smashed open and loaded into their vehicle.

The room, consisting of eight doors is big enough to store well over five million Covid-19 vaccines at -80C.

“This vaccine room is a much larger capacity room destined for overseas use, and has been on standby to complete for NZ use if needed,” the complex’s director told the Herald.

The custom-designed heat exchanger is worth about $5000, but the complex fears it will be taken to a scrap yard to sell.

“The thieves could only possibly use it for scrap, because it is of no use to anyone else but us,” the director said.

He said it would take about three months to have another heat-exchanger built.

“We really can’t afford to be losing project time and money to these thieves.”

In a statement police said they had received a report of a burglary at a commercial premises in Onehunga at 3.30am yesterday.

The information was being assessed.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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