Rotorua police are asking for a woman who allegedly stole a tip jar from an Eat Streat restaurant to hand herself in and "get it over with".
On Monday, around 11.30am, a woman entered Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar on Eat Streat, and using a fake name and fake phone number, made a reservation.
But, as soon as the staff member taking her booking turned her back to deal with another customer, she allegedly grabbed an old teapot used as a tip jar and put it in her bag before turning and walking out.
Rotorua police Sergeant Colin Peers said officers were investigating the theft and were asking the public to help identify the woman from the restaurant's security camera footage.
"We ask her to hand herself in and get it over with," he said. "It's a deliberate, brazen act that has left staff out of pocket."
Ambrosia owner Kris Beehre said staff were gutted.
"The tip jar gets emptied quite often, but it was the day after Valentine's Day and it was quite full. We think there was about $200 in there."
Mr Beehre said staff were saving the money for a combined event they wanted to hold later this year. "It sucks, the staff have been saving that money. It wasn't a lot, but it's the principle of it. I think it will be the last we see of it unfortunately. The guys feel that all of their hard work has come to nothing and that their security has been violated."
Mr Beehre said security measures in the restaurant had been changed with staff no longer leaving phones or other personal items behind the counter.
"We hope this helps police catch this person. What she did was pretty disgusting."
If you know the identity of the woman, contact Rotorua police on (07) 348 0099, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on (0800) 555 111.
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