Police are warning premises who hold counter charity boxes to be extra vigilant after a spate of box thefts around Hawke’s Bay recently.
So far there have been 17 reported thefts of charity boxes from businesses, shops and offices around the district since December. The thefts are continuing as police deal with the complaints as they are reported almost daily.
Police want to speak to this man (pictured) in relation to the thefts. The photo is related to the theft of a charity box from Mobil Havelock North service station in December.
The stolen boxes were taking donations for various charities, ranging from the Cancer Society and the Salvation Army to the SPCA. It is not known how much money has been taken in total.
Sergeant Marie Marshall says businesses and shops should be on the lookout for anyone hanging around or acting suspiciously near counters or areas where charity boxes are placed.
“These appear to have become a major target for the thief or thieves concerned and we are urging anyone who has a charity box to make sure it is placed in such a way it would be difficult to steal. Some may be able to be attached to a counter.
“Likewise, we would ask all local charities to empty their boxes regularly so large amounts of money do not build up and become attractive to thieves,” Ms Marshall said.
Police are keen to hear from anyone who recognises the person in the photo or who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously around a business counter in recent weeks.
Ms Marshall said the thefts were reprehensible.
“It’s pretty low to steal from a charity and we know there is a lot of community outrage and disgust about these thefts. Hopefully someone will be able to help us find who is responsible.”