Thieves hit charities
CALLOUS thieves have raided three central Auckland charities this month, leaving officials wondering why they’re being targeted.
Youthline in Ponsonby, Cure Kids in Eden Terrace and Allergy New Zealand in Mt Eden were set back by thousands of dollars by the burglaries.
An estimated $8000 in computer equipment was taken from Youthline’s office last Thursday night, some of which had only been delivered the previous day.
“It just seems so wrong to steal in the first place, but to hit a charity that’s trying to make a difference in our community adds a whole new level,” says Stephen Bell, chief executive of the organisation that provides support services to youth.
The burglars took two laptops, three new LCD screens, three older computer monitors, two desktop computers and a number of computer accessories.
In Youthline’s 40year history this is the third time it has been burgled, Mr Bell says.
Allergy New Zealand’s office was ransacked by thieves for the second time this year on Saturday night, just as it was about to kick off its annual Allergy Awareness Week.
About $10,000 worth of equipment was taken in February and a few hundred dollars in cash was taken at the weekend.
“It is a horrible feeling,” says Allergy NZ chief executive Penny Jorgensen.
“When they come the second time it feels personal.”
Staff spent Monday morn- ing picking up shards of glass from the floor and from computer keyboards.
“Why pick an organisation that didn’t have much to start with?” Mrs Jorgensen says.
She says it is fortunate that nothing of great value was kept on the premises following the first theft.
“We think they waited a couple of months until they thought things had been replaced.”
Cure Kids chief executive Kaye Parker received a phone call on May 9 saying the organisation’s office had been burgled.
Security arrived within four minutes of the callout but the thieves had already made off with five laptops and petty cash.
Ms Parker says to steal from a charity is low.
“This is not the first time we have been targeted,” she says.
“It is a tremendous inconvenience to lose work devices and documents that will take time and money to replace.
“This affects our ability to help sick children through funding research into life-threatening illnesses.”
Detective senior sergeant Steven Breach says his staff attended the Youthline break-in but they are not aware of any trends targeting charities.
Mr Breach says computers and laptops are high-profile items that are easy to resell.
Mrs Jorgensen says the break-ins have a flow-on effect and insurance premiums rise.
“Maybe charities can’t afford protection.”
Allergy Awareness Week ends on Saturday. You can visit www.allergynz.org.nz to buy a raffle ticket and help them out.
Frustrated: Allergy New Zealand chief executive Penny Jorgensen inspects the damage.