Thieves have bitten the hand that feeds the poor and needy by breaking into a shed at the Salvation Army in Whangārei and stealing a lawnmower and a weed eater.
The theft is among a spate of mostly commercial burglaries that have taken place around Whangārei over the last couple of weeks, including a ute on Kioreroa Rd and welding tools from a residential property in Maungakaramea.
Salvation Army director of community ministries Trevor McLean said the theft, sometime on Thursday night last week, was disappointing at a time when his staff and volunteers were working round the clock to deliver food parcels throughout Northland.
"If they had really wanted those items, they could have come and asked for them. They were used, not only for general maintenance, but to also lend them to someone in need out in the community."
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McLean said it was not the first time the premises have been targeted. A lawnmower and weed trimmer were stolen in a break-in just over a year ago.
The items were kept in a shed. A complaint has been laid with police.
On the same night the shed was broken into, a number of panel beating, welding and spray painting items were nicked from a house in Maungakaramea.
Zarah Stewart said the stolen items belonged to her dad, who was a panel beater and welder.
Luckily, she said most of the items were recovered after Whangārei police stopped the getaway vehicle and arrested those responsible for the theft.
"The shed was fully locked but thieves booted the door in. They almost wiped out the shed. I think they stole them to try to get a quick buck.
"It's not very nice. We've seen a lot of break-ins happening in Maungatapere in the last two weeks," she said.
At 4.46am on Monday this week, a person unlawfully entered the McKenzie Contracting yard on Kioreroa Rd and drove away a company ute with 200 litres of diesel in it.
"It's frustrating. What's going on? Why are commercial premises being picked on? Are people responsible starting a new business because it's not just vehicles but tools as well that are being stolen," co-owner Tracey McKenzie questioned.
The distinctive ute has the registration plate 1LEGJA.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Whangārei police on 09 430 4500 or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.