Refuge gifts gone
CHILDREN from abusive homes missed out on Christmas presents after a van packed with gifts was stolen from a Women’s Refuge.
More than 70 donated toys were stolen when thieves nabbed the van from the Mt Albert safe house.
“It’s absolutely gutting,” says manager Christina Pusztay.
“It’s just so awful that someone would stoop this low.”
Staff arrived at 9am on Monday to find the vehicle missing.
Piled in the back and visible to the thieves, were gifts in decorative bags and labelled with either boy or girl.
“Whoever took the van knew the gifts were for the children,” Ms Pusztay says. “We just couldn’t believe it.”
The toys were supposed to be given out at the centre’s annual Christmas party yesterday.
About 50 people attended, including four women and six children staying at the house.
Staff found some presents to give out, but the theft was still a blow.
“It means a lot of kids will miss out on gifts,” group facilitator Jane Kearton says.
The rest of the stolen toys were to be donated to those who didn’t make it to the celebrations. They were to be delivered to the children’s homes in the van.
It was donated to the refuge and used to pick up women and children escaping from abusive partners.
The vehicle had just been serviced and filled with petrol ready to take children on a fun holiday outing.
“We take them to Motat, the zoo, parks, you name it,” Mrs Pusztay says.
She says the women staying at the house were “extremely upset” by the theft.
The van was parked behind trees on a driveway near the house.
Detective sergeant Joe Aumua says there are no lines of inquiry.
To report sightings of the white, 1995 Ford van, licence TO1243, contact Auckland police, phone: 302-6400.
To make a donation to the refuge, phone: 849-5692.
No presents: Women’s refuge workers after their children’s were stolen, from left: Jane Kearton, Phayth Dore and Christina Pusztay.