Gnome thieves 'lowlifes, toe-rags'

'I'm just heartbroken'

JESSICA SUTTON
Last updated 08:35 23/04/2014
Gnome thief victims
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

GNOMES GONE: Laurie and Brenda Kirkwood from Feilding with their two remaining gnomes after their collection was stolen from their garden on Thursday night or Friday morning.

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Thieves who stole 20 garden gnomes from an elderly couple have been slammed as "lowlifes" and "toe-rags".

Pensioners Laurie and Brenda Kirkwood returned from their Easter holiday on Monday to find most of their gnome collection had been swiped from their flat within the Manawatu Community Trust's Feilding community housing complex on Awahuri Rd. The complex is home to 35 elderly and disabled residents.

"It's just unnerving and gut-wrenching," Brenda Kirkwood said.

"Our garden is for everyone to enjoy and everyone loves our gnomes. Many of them were gifted to us by a tetraplegic lady. She found solace in coming round and seeing the gnomes. I think we've been targeted by someone who knew where they were."

She said the gnomes were scattered through the front and back yards, and many were not easy to spot behind plants. Most of them were even glued to tiles to stop them falling over in the wind.

Kirkwood said the gnomes were unique because she had repainted them in unusual colours.

"I'm just heartbroken. They're easily identifiable but I'll be amazed if we ever see them again."

Manawatu Community Trust spokeswoman Krystina Vuleta said the theft was upsetting.

"We encourage our tenants to look out for one another and their properties. To have this happen is very sad to hear. I just hope they catch the little toe-rags. Picking on elderly is a really lowlife thing to do."

She said the trust would offer support to the Kirkwoods if they needed it.

Feilding police Constable Jim Marsh said gnome theft was uncommon.

"This is certainly not your average theft," he said. "It seems quite vindictive. These gnomes aren't worth a lot but they [have sentimental value]. It seems they've either been targeted or someone has spotted them and taken them to add to their own collection."

If anyone saw anything suspicious in the area on Thursday night or in the early hours of Friday morning, they can contact Feilding police on (06) 323 6363.

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- Manawatu Standard

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