A pair of four-legged feline thieves is on the prowl.
The cat burglars are sneaking around Pakuranga stealing clothing from the homes of the unsuspecting.
Owner Julie Kennedy says that about a year ago her pets, Pluto and Zeus, started bringing her "treats" from around the neighbourhood.
"It was very haphazard to start with. There might be a sock once a week or one a fortnight," she says.
"I started to notice them and think 'wait, these aren't mine, where are they coming from'?"
She says that at first she thought her son might be to blame.
"I thought it was Nathan's friends that were leaving them and for quite a long time I blamed it on that but then it became apparent it was the cats."
She'd wake up in the morning to find half a sock, or T-shirt pulled through the cat flap.
After some solid detective work she figured out the cats were kidnapping socks from the neighbours' laundry.
She says the neighbour locked it up tighter than Fort Knox but it was too late for the cats – they had a taste for pilfering.
"I think they are going into other people's laundries, they are not taking it off the line or anything because most of it is dirty.
"I don't mind so much when it is dirty socks and things but I have had the odd pair of undies and I don't like picking those up."
Because they are goodlooking animals they can get away with murder, she says.
"They are very nosy cats, if they see a window or door open they just walk in and assume they can be there.
"The motel owners in front of us know them because they just walk through all the rooms. They can just do whatever they want and most people let them."
This isn't the first time Mrs Kennedy has tried to track down the owners of her borrowed clothing collection.
"I've been to the neighbours, I've left flyers for the nearby houses along Pakuranga Rd but it could be from anywhere. Cats are well known for travelling big distances at night.
"I feel terrible, I feel really sorry for whoever is losing all this stuff."
And she says the thieves have upped their game with the loot doubling in size recently.
"If you think the sock thief has struck your household it might actually be less phantom and more one of my cats."
Mrs Kennedy says the victims must have noticed because the cats are repeat offenders.
"There is definitely a little boy involved somewhere and a man, a big man, those are big socks."
Mrs Kennedy says she has never caught the culprit red-handed but she has her suspicions it is Zeus.
Email email@example.com if you have seen this smooth criminal at work.
- Eastern Courier
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