Paremata puss purr-loins possessions
It was the purr-fect crime. Well, almost.
For a month Maxwell, a supposedly ''run-of-the-mill'' moggy, has run amok in Tirowhanga Road, Paremata, invading nearby homes and leaving his owners, the Janes family, a little red-faced.
The proverbial cat burglar, one-year-old Maxwell has been pilfering up to six items each night from the neighbourhood, from shoes and blankets to a child's wetsuit and a pair of pyjamas.
He may have got away with it too - there being no witnesses, no prints, and no apparent motivation beyond a kitten's pluck - were it not for a pussycat's pride. Max paraded his loot in and around the Janes' front door and, upon return from each of his raids, would offer a haughty meow for all the family to hear.
''It's lucky we have a good relationship with the whole street,'' owner Helen Janes says, ''I was able to send them all an email explaining what's been happening.''
''My husband and I wake up every morning to see what gifts he has left strewn down the hallway and out the door ... We have to put the lost, or should I say stolen property out on our driveway for the neighbours to collect.''
It's assumed Maxwell has targeted houses with cat doors and open windows, but how the diminutive feline managed to drag a large blanket - removed from a neighbour's couch - out one cat-flap, down the street and through another, has Ms Janes scratching her head.
And nobody knows why Maxwell suddenly turned to a life of crime. Too many Slinky Malinki books perhaps?
''I Googled it, it does happen, but it's not that common.''
Ms Janes said on one occasion Maxwell took the sheets from a neighbour's washing pile and pushed them against a door, trapping the occupant inside a room.
''She had to knock on the door for her husband to let her through.''
One inconvenient act of thievery meant a perplexed custom's officer had to go to work without part of her uniform, a large vest Maxwell had taken a fancy to.
Alas, the nightly adventures came to end on Thursday, when Ms Janes put Maxwell on lockdown.
''We're going to shut the cat door tonight. It's getting a bit embarrassing.''