Apple thieves cheat children

CHILDREN CHEATED: Rhys and Laken Donovan are saddened by the theft of their apples.
CHILDREN CHEATED: Rhys and Laken Donovan are saddened by the theft of their apples.

Heartless thieves have cheated children out of potential pocket money by stripping their apple trees.

Rhys and Laken Donovan had been selling the apples outside their Swanson home to make a few dollars.

The children are devastated to find that every apple has been pinched from the four trees on their rural orchard.

Thieves climbed the fence and turned off an outside solar light, possibly standing on a garden chair to pick the gala, braeburn and granny smith varieties while family members slept.

Plums were were also pilfered from the property last month when they were ripe.

It's taken 14 years of painstaking work to grow the apples from scratch.

"I'm a bit confused and sad really," Rhys, 10, says.

"They haven't only stolen our apples. They've stolen our jobs too. We made a little stall out the front and we would stand out there for quite a long time and try to sell things. I think the most we made was $5."

The young entrepreneurs also shared the fruit with family members, used it to bake apple crumble and feed the chickens.

"We don't mind sharing but we don't like people just taking," Laken, 8, says.

Their mum, who does not want to be named, agrees.

"If someone was desperate and hungry and asked for some apples I'd happily hand them over," she says.

"I'm just annoyed that somebody would come on to our property without our permission, sneak around and take things that are ours."

She says there have been reports of similar thefts during the last fortnight.

One friend in Waimauku lost all her peaches and another in Kumeu had her entire apple crop stolen overnight.

A police spokeswoman says it is frightening and alarming for anyone to experience theft from their property.

Victims are urged to report all incidents to police.

"We are unaware of any growing trend around theft of fruit from trees in the greater west Auckland area, but there have been sporadic reports of fruit theft from time to time."

Norwest News