Horiana Rophia is crushed someone has entered her new rental home in Dannevirke and stolen the food from her cupboards, most intended for the two young children who live with her.
"They've taken the food from their mouths and this is a real blow to me as setting up a house is new for me," she told the Dannevirke News.
Unable to find accommodation in Napier, Hastings or Waipukurau, Horiana was delighted to find a rental house in Dannevirke's Cole St three weeks ago, which she thought would be a safe haven.
But when she returned from work at Onga Onga on Monday she discovered "things weren't right" when she walked into her kitchen.
"I went to put the jug on and realised it wasn't there, nor was my toaster. The tea and coffee were gone too."
And it wasn't until she calmed down from the shock that she realised her cupboards and bathroom had been rifled.
"They'd taken the kids' presents, opened cupboards and stolen new packets of food, searching through this and that to find the Milo, Weet-bix, cornflakes, tins of fruit and the children's food . . . they even took DVDs on loan from the library.
"This is so crushing. This street has the appearance of a safe place to live and so it should be. I don't want people to think they can come into my place and help themselves."
Setting up home in Dannevirke, Horiana had purchased new mops and buckets and a secondhand vacuum cleaner which were all stolen.
"They even went into the bathroom and took my shampoo and conditioner. I suppose I'm lucky they've left me some loo paper," she said. "I'm just pleased the kids were on holiday, this is very upsetting.
"I hadn't had time to arrange insurance, but I'll be doing that now and improving security," she said.
"I'm past being ripped off," she said.
"It's been pretty unsettling to think someone has been watching my house. I suppose they had plenty of time to case the place. I won't be ripped off again and I hope others are warned and make sure their homes are secure."
Horiana has a message for the culprits. "Whoever did this, don't think you can come here and help yourself. If you want something, go to the food bank just like I had to do. I needed help and I asked."
The Salvation Army had provided Horiana with furniture for her home and she's grateful the thieves didn't take those items.
"But how heartless is it to take the kids' things," she said.
"As a community we need to stand up and speak out when things like this happen, we shouldn't feel vulnerable in our own homes."
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