Thief steals charity donations from Christchurch cafe on Christmas Day video

MESHINO CAFE/Facebook

The CCTV footage, posted online by the owners of Meshino Cafe, shows the thief smashing in the front door and stealing two charity donation boxes.

A lone thief broke into a Christchurch cafe on Christmas Day to steal two charity donation boxes. 

Meshino Cafe owners Gaby and Mike Topp say it is the second break-in at their Rutland St cafe in St Albans in less than six months. 

CCTV footage clearly captured the thief smashing in the glass windows of the front door before taking off with collection boxes for the Blind Foundation and City Mission. 

Meshino Cafe in St Albans was a cafe finalist in the Zest Food Awards in 2014.
DEAN KOAZNIC/FAIRFAX NZ

Meshino Cafe in St Albans was a cafe finalist in the Zest Food Awards in 2014.

"What a complete scumbag," Mike Topp said.

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The owners of Meshino Cafe left this message on the boarded-up front door after the robbery.
FACEBOOK

The owners of Meshino Cafe left this message on the boarded-up front door after the robbery.

The robbery happened shortly after 2am on Christmas Day and a customer walking passed later that morning saw the smashed door and called police. 

"That was our wake-up call on Christmas Day, a phone call from the police," Gaby Topp said.

Mike Topp said it was a "low-life and desperate" crime to commit.

Gaby and Mike Topp say the robbery made a mess of their business for the sake of two charity donation boxes.
FACEBOOK

Gaby and Mike Topp say the robbery made a mess of their business for the sake of two charity donation boxes.

"Watching the whole footage, you see him ride past on his bike . . . check down [side streets], park in the bike stand and then smash in the door," he said. 

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"And it was all for some pocket change that is meant to be for people in need."

Gaby Topp said the Blind Foundation had collected the donations on December 17, but the City Mission box was full. 

She was unsure how much money was stolen. 

The cafe's till containing about $300 was taken during another break-in a few months ago, but the collection boxes were spared.

"There would have been more money in the dog [the Blind Foundation collection] than in the till," she said.

"They cause more loss in terms of damage. It really sucks."

It cost about $7000 in insurance funds to repair the damage, she said. 

The security camera footage, which the Topps posted on the cafe's Facebook page, showed a masked man using what appeared to be a crowbar to smash in the front door before climbing through and heading to the counter. 

He picked up both donation boxes, knocking coffee cups off the counter along the way, before making a dash back to the door. 

The thief doubled back to grab his crowbar and then left.

Police were confident of catching of the offender, Gaby Topp said, and had advised the couple to review security footage in case they spotted someone scoping out the place in the days before the robbery.

"We have four sensors in the cafe but he managed to avoid them all."

The couple hoped the Blind Foundation dog would be returned. 

"It's been in the cafe since we opened [in 2003] . . . and now they give you a little plastic box so unless someone brings it back it's gone for good."

The cafe would reopen as planned on January 5. 

 - Stuff

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