Waihi police have described the theft of food prepared for a funeral as a "new low in criminal offending".
Waihi sub-area supervisor Senior Sergeant Rex Knight, said officers were "genuinely shocked" to receive a complaint that the town's War Memorial Hall had been broken into and food for a funeral had been stolen.
"A caterer had been working like a Trojan preparing food for the funeral of a local stalwart who had been secretary of the Waihi Marae for several years," Mr Knight said.
"With a large gathering expected the caterer had been storing the food in fridges overnight in preparation for the funeral which was held yesterday morning."
Mr Knight said it appears the thieves entered the hall through a window about 8.50pm on Monday night.
"Waihi is a pretty close knit community and when news got out about what happened it wasn't just the police on the offenders' tails.
"Thanks to all the support we were able to identify who was responsible and yesterday searched a Union St address and arrested a 40-year-old man for receiving.
"Overnight we also located and charged a 17-year-old man and charged him with burglary. Both men are appearing in the Hamilton District Court today while two boys, aged 14 and 12 were also identified and referred to Youth Aid."
Mr Knight said police were also investigating a possible link between the burglary and tagging in the town on Monday night.
"At this point it is very disappointing considering there is a strong likelihood the offenders knew the woman whose funeral they stole from. Having said that, we have gained some reassurance that there still are a lot of very good, community minded people in Waihi."
- Herald Online staff