An Auckland retailer is pleading for the return of a papier-mache pig stolen from her Papakura framing store in what she believes was a premeditated heist.
Ruth Tomkins said she was prepared to prosecute the person responsible in court, that's how upset she was at losing her prized hog.
"You have to understand - it was a mascot here," she said.
Customers loved it and so did she.
The bright pink pig was made for Tomkins by her mother and matched the pink theme of her store.
It sat in the foyer of Ruth's Framing Ltd for years until the fateful afternoon of May 24, 2018, when a brazen thief entered the shop and nicked it in broad daylight.
"A car backed up to the roller door bay," she told the Herald.
"I looked around the corner and … a man came forward, took my pig and took off."
She went chasing after the car, but to no avail.
The fact the man drove right up to her shop made Tomkins believe she was not dealing with an opportunist, but a deliberate act of thievery.
"This was not just someone deciding as they went past [to take it]- they've got an order for it," she claimed.
The incident - although not the act itself - was caught on CCTV and Tomkins had contacted police, but had resigned herself to losing the store's pink mascot until she saw a story in the Herald last week regarding the theft of a concrete cow from a Royal Oak garden.
Arthur, a large black and white cow statue, was stolen overnight last Thursday with about a half dozen other cow ornaments.
"It makes you think - are they linked?"
Tomkins wondered if perhaps a local butcher was on the hunt for a whole farmyard of inanimate animals, to put in their shop window.
In any case, the pig was something special of her elderly mother's and it had huge sentimental value.
"I just want my pig back," she said.
"I told the cops at the time it was taken, I would be happy to prosecute on this with all proceeds going to the SPCA. I was so upset about it."
Police confirmed they were alerted to the incident at the time.
"Police received a report on 24th May relating to the theft of a decorative pig from a premise in Papakura," a spokesman said.
Despite following the case up, the pig was not found and no one has been charged.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Papakura police on 09-295 0200.