A thief has been filmed carrying out a fruit heist at the Pukeahu National War Memorial park in Wellington.
The person stripped every apple from trees outside the education centre in the dead of the night.
And it was no opportunist with a sudden craving for the crunchy fruit: the thief came prepared with harvesting equipment and a basket.
Memorials and taonga manager at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Brodie Stubbs said the trees were planted three years ago when the park was landscaped and were only just maturing and starting to fruit well.
"Most of them probably wouldn't have been edible seeing as they're not usually harvested until autumn.
"But some of them were and people had been and were welcome to pick the apples as they ripen. But it was a bit of a surprise to find them all gone. They were actually laden with fruit."
Stubbs said CCTVhappened to catch the green-fingered thief.
"I think they had something to help them get the apples from the top of the tree and a basket to take them away.
"It was obviously planned. One person has denied a larger group of people the pleasure of being able to pick an apple from those trees."
Stubbs said it is a small orchard and the public are welcome to help themselves as the trees are growing in a public place.
"But it's just unfortunate that somebody thought they'd help themselves to the lot of them."
The trees are historically significant and are used to teach school students about the Sisters of Compassion and their work growing fruit trees in New Zealand over the past 100 years.
Wellington City Councillor Nicola Young said the trees can be traced back to Mother Suzanne Aubert.
"Mother Aubert came from a farm in France where they had apple trees and she brought cuttings from them and planted those in her first settlement in Jerusalem on the Whanganui River."
Grafts from those trees were taken to plant around the education centre, the former home of the Compassion creche.
Stubbs was disappointed they had lost the opportunity to use the apples to teach students about the work of the Sisters in New Zealand.
And Young had some advice for anyone thinking about helping themselves to public fruit in the future: "Wait until it's ripe, and just take a little bit so everyone can enjoy the pleasure of picking fruit. People must avoid being greedy."