Police keen to deliver stolen sentiments
To Lydia, Happy 18th Birthday from Grandma and Grandad.
Lydia never got her birthday card or any contents it may have originally contained because she, like so many other residents of the wider Queenstown area, had her mail stolen by former Queenstown postie Philippa Lindsay.
Lindsay was jailed this month for 17 months and ordered to pay $30,000 in reparation for the theft of more than 21,000 items of mail which were recovered by Queenstown police at her residence, in a lockup unit and in a car park at the base of Coronet Peak.
Police now hope to find the rightful recipients of the last 100 or so packages still in police custody.
However, it won't be easy.
Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron said all of the unidentified items had been removed from their original packaging leaving few leads for police, no addresses or surnames and in some cases nothing more than "Dear Dad".
Police were realistic about their chances of reuniting the items with their intended recipients, but hoped they would be able to track down at least some in the next two weeks.
"We have books, DVDs, CDs, lots of personal letters, cards - birthday and anniversary cards but there are no unique identities in them.
"We don't know what might have been contained in these things," Mr Cameron said.
However, Mr Cameron was confident a public appeal would help identify the rightful recipients of a series of photographs and three letters with identifying factors.
They are: A sympathy letter for a Mary and Jack from a Colleen relating to the death of a family member; a letter addressed to Rick, Andrea, Kheelan and Ayla dated September 7, 2010, signed Mum and Dad which indicates the writers live in Cape Town, South Africa; and a letter addressed to a Katie from her oldest sister, Becky, who was possibly studying in Invercargill.
Anyone who recognised any of the photographs, names or items should contact the Queenstown police station in the next two weeks to claim any items they could prove belonged to them.
"Anything we do not identify goes back to New Zealand Post."
Contact: Detective Lisa Watt, Operation Jess, Queenstown, (03) 441 1600.
The Southland Times