THE coronavirus pandemic is already forcing Lake Macquarie carpenter Jason Thomas to all but down tools.
Now, adding insult to financial injury, someone has stolen just about all his tools off the back of his work ute.
"I'd say there's probably close to $10,000 worth of tools that have been taken," Mr Thomas, the owner of Lifestyle Home Projects, said.
The Wangi Wangi tradesman received a rude awakening early on Wednesday morning.
A neighbour had left a message, warning Mr Thomas it looked as though someone had broken into the locked tool boxes on the utility parked outside his Puna Road home.
Apart from a few items left at the job he was currently working on, Mr Thomas said all his tools had been stolen. He had lost at least 18 major tools, along with smaller items, essential for him to do his job.
"Every tool that you could imagine a builder or a carpenter would need were in these tool boxes," he said.
"I have to try and work the next few days with limited tools, while I wait for the insurer to do their part."
It is a double blow for the carpenter, who, like so many businesses, has seen work dry up recently, as fears and restrictions over coronavirus have taken hold in the community.
"My phone hasn't rung for two weeks. I've gone from getting three or four phone calls a day to the last two weeks, when I don't think I've had a call," he said, explaining he had two projects booked in, "then that's it".
"We've probably got a month's worth of work ahead of us, but I can't see anything coming in at the end of that."
Jason Thomas, the main income earner for his family of five, said this theft made an already challenging time "tougher again".
"Now we have to go and sort out all the tools," he said. "I have to go and buy everything."
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said inquiries into the incident were ongoing.
The spokeswoman said if anyone saw or heard anything suspicious in the area between 7.30pm Tuesday and 4.30am Wednesday to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
As for Jason Thomas' message to those responsible, "I'd like to find them."
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