Thieves managed to bypass tight security to steal more
than 100 pricey tropical fish from a pond on the grounds of a
$16.5 million property.
The New Zealand Herald has learned police are
investigating how 120 large exotic fish priced between $50
and $100 each were stolen from the property, owned by
rich-lister Gary Lane, overnight on Monday.
Mr Lane, a property developer and the former owner of food
businesses Healtheries and Hansells, which he sold for $140
million in 2006, is currently in the UK, where he lives for
part of each year.
It is understood the fish were in a pond at Mr Lane's Argyle
St property, named Waimanu, in Herne Bay.
The house, once owned by the Sultan of Brunei, has high
fencing and extensive camera surveillance, but it was unclear
whether the cameras overlook the pond area.
One of Mr Lane's employees reported the theft to the Auckland
police yesterday. It was too early for police to comment on
the investigation and they were seeking more information on
The employee reportedly discovered the fish were missing when
he went to feed them yesterday morning. He told police that
the fish were definitely in the pond when he went to feed
them on Monday, but it was completely empty yesterday.
However, Mr Lane's personal assistant at his Auckland-based
Lane Capital Group told the Herald that there had been no
burglary when she was contacted yesterday.
When told that police had confirmed a complaint had been
received, she said she had "no idea", "no comment" and hung
According to last year's annual National Business Review Rich
List, Mr Lane was worth $220 million.
He purchased Waimanu and several other properties in the
Herne Bay area in 2005 for about $35 million.
He paid just over $11 million for Waimanu alone and brought
in teams of builders, landscapers, architects and gardeners
for one of the city's biggest but most hidden makeovers.
The house, based on Hawaii's Halekulani Hotel, was built by
developer Graeme Soljan in 1987. The sharemarket crash forced
its sale in 1990 to Scottish millionaire and former Glasgow
Rangers FC owner David Murray, for $3.4 million. He sold it
to the sultan in 1995 for $6.8 million.