Working holiday dashed by theft

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014
Lennard Groene
JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN/ Fairfax NZ
UNEXPECTED: Lennard Groene, of Germany, is shocked his pack and belongings were stolen from under a porch at Alexandra Backpackers.

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A working holiday in Alexandra has been soured for a German backpacker whose pack and hiking poles were stolen from his accommodation.

Lennard Groene, 25, said he arrived in town at the weekend to start cherry picking for the season at Hinton Orchard, having travelled around the South Island since October.

He left his tramping pack, which was full of personal belongings, hiking poles and a green waterproof jacket under a covered porch at the rear of Alexandra Backpackers to dry out on Tuesday morning.

The blue Osprey-brand pack was last seen at 10am and by 1pm a member of the public had found some of Mr Groene's belongings dumped at the boat ramp.

"Police emailed me to say some of my belongings had been found at the ramp on the Clutha River. I have got my credit cards, diary, passport and clothes back, but all my expensive stuff is gone. I am shocked and disappointed because I have been shown a lot of hospitality from Kiwi people. Everyone has been super nice so it is very unexpected. It has put a bit of a dent in the whole experience."

His backpack, which cost about $900, had a collection of about 10 glow patches glued in a pattern on it which people might recognise, he said.

Alexandra Backpackers owner Murray Poole said he planned to set up a security camera to deter further thefts.

On Monday a woman from the Czech Republic had food and drinks stolen, he said.

"We have put signs up around the place saying not to leave valuables unattended and lock your rooms, but it is a shame it has to be done. Some backpackers are very trusting and 99 per cent of the time they are fine being like that. This is the first incident for quite some time that is probably the most serious."

Anyone with information should contact Alexandra police on (03) 440 2500.

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- The Southland Times

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