Police asking for CCTV footage after 20-tonne digger used to demolish brand new house.

Vandal causes over $200,000 worth of damage. Video / StuffPolice hunting vandals – who broke into a construction site and tore down a brand new $675,000 South Auckland home with a digger – have been checking security cameras from nearby houses.
It came after workers arrived at the Flat Bush site on Friday morning to find the vandals had sent a 20-tonne digger’s bucket smashing into the home’s roof and walls.
The house now needed rebuilding at a likely cost between $200,000 to $300,000.
The vandals also used a second, smaller digger to damage concrete foundations laid for a complex of 80 apartments also being built on the DDL Homes site.
That led police to step up enquiries on Saturday morning as they requested CCTV footage from the home of at least one nearby resident.
However, the resident said no one had driven or walked past his cameras at the time of the crime.
He personally had also not heard any noise or disturbance from the construction site overnight Thursday.
Residents in the area felt awful for the DDL Homes owners and the “big damage” done to their site.
A developer himself, the neighbour said he had never heard of a crime like it.
Homes he and some of his friends had built had suffered minor vandalism, such as smashed windows or doors, while under construction.
And he had also heard of fire damaging homes on worksites.
“But nothing like this,” he said.
DDL Homes owner Baljit Dheil earlier told the Herald her team was shocked.
“We … really don’t know why someone would do that,” she said.
“Even police were saying this morning they’ve never had a case like this where someone came in and demolished a whole brand new house.”
GPS data from the diggers showed the vandals had been on the site for hours.
They started the first smaller digger at 1am on Friday and used it to “attack” and drive over the concrete foundations of the new 80 apartment complex, all of which had been pre-sold.
The damage meant the entire foundations would now have to be pulled up and relaid, Dheil said.
She didn’t know how much that would cost.
The vandals next started the 20-tonne digger about 3.30am and tore apart the townhouse.
Due to be handed over to its buyers, everything had already gone into the home, including the kitchen and bathroom finishings. The workers were only waiting on carpet and flooring.
Now the total rebuild would cost between $200,000 and $300,000, Dheil said.
There would also be a two-to-three-month delay as all the materials – including the prenailed frame – had to be reordered and delivered, and builders rehired.
Dheil had been forced to call the home’s buyers on Friday to deliver the bad news.
They took it as philosophically as possible, saying “what has happened has happened”, she said.
There was also concern that seven other townhouses attached to the home had also been damaged. Inspectors would now take a look.
“It doesn’t look like there is damage, but we have to check it,” Dheil said.
Should those townhouses need to be rebuilt, then the cost of repairs could stretch well past $1 million.
Police could not provide the Herald with an update on their investigations on Saturday.
They had earlier said anyone with information could contact police by calling 105 and quoting the file number 210611/6076.
“Information can also be provided through Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111,” a spokesman said.
DDL Homes’ Dheil could also not be reached for further comment on Saturday.
However, diggers were back in action on the site on Saturday as workers also buzzed about in other homes on the site.
The damaged home could still be seen standing – a tumble of debris.
The closest houses to the DDL site with residents living in them were all located some distance away.
Dheil earlier said, meanwhile, that it was lucky the 20-tonne digger couldn’t easily be turned or manoeuvred to face the seven other dwellings, or who knows what would have happened.
She also had no idea who the vandals were or how they started the digger.
“They didn’t have any key … they just wired it,” she said.
DDL Homes was now filing an insurance claim and said an assessor would be coming out to inspect the damage.
The site didn’t yet have security cameras.
But DDL Homes had been working on setting up security and cameras after thieves broke into site’s portable container one month earlier and made off with computers, microwaves and other goods.
A door knock of nearby neighbours by Dheil’s team on Friday morning also failed to yield any clues.
“We went around all the neighbourhood, but nothing at this stage.”