Thief not being allowed to win

04:16, Sep 04 2014
Southland Times photo
Sue and Mike Brooke will continue to sell vegetables at their roadside stall despite it being targeted by a thief three times in a week.

An opportunist thief has ripped off a newly established business three times in a week at Tapanui, leaving the owners feeling despondent but determined to carry on.

Sue and Mike Brooke moved south a year ago to establish their market garden on State Highway 90, south of Tapanui.

The couple grow and sell spray-free vegetables, herbs and flowers in a shed at their gate and all was going well until their honesty box was stripped of cash on August 23, Sue said.

"We usually empty it out but we got a bit complacent," she said.

Despite keeping an eye on the box, it was emptied again the following Tuesday and again last Saturday.

The couple have lost about $150.


Mike believes all three thefts have been carried out by the same person or people.

"They're very clever with it, they're in and out in no time," he said.

"It leaves you with a bad feeling but the people of Tapanui have been very supportive," Sue said.

The couple have taken measures to ensure they do not become victims again, including not leaving change in the box for customers, bolting the cashbox to the shed and gardening near it in the afternoons, when all three thefts have occurred.