Terminally-ill ripped off by heartless thieves
For the terminally-ill people in the care of Hospice Wairarapa, one of the highlights of the week is having an outdoor lunch in the garden with friends and staff.
For the next few weeks the patients will be unable to have that time after thieves took all the of hospice’s outdoor furniture.
They also took tools, plants and other items, including a chainsaw.
Hospice manager Suzie Adamson said it was complete shock to arrive on Friday morning and find they had been targeted.
In a Facebook post she described the incident as ‘‘heartbreaking’’.
The hospice relies on community support and the theft cuts into an already thin budget that is propped up by fundraising events that take place each week, she said.
‘‘When you steal from hospice you are stealing services from people who are dying, because we have to pay insurance excess, and that means taking money we have budgeted for patient care.
‘‘It makes you feel vulnerable when you arrive in the morning, wondering what else might happen, we don’t have a lot of money, and rely on volunteers to run the service, so it was a real blow.
‘‘The community response has been amazing, though, the support has been wonderful. We have had offers of money, services from local businesses.
Hospice volunteer Brian Stewart looks after the work shed and helps organise the weekly garage sale, he arrived on Friday morning and noticed the padlock was not on the door.
‘‘At first I thought to myself I must have forgotten to put the lock on, but then I went inside the shed and saw the chainsaw was gone.
‘‘It was then I went back outside the shed and saw someone had cut the lock and removed the padlock.
‘‘It will be interesting to find out where the hell all the stuff has gone.
‘‘We have a great team here and put in a lot of effort to raise money. We just have to carry on,’’ Stewart said.
Masterton police senior sergeant Gordon Crawley said they are still looking for information and that anyone who can remember seeing anything out of the ordinary on Renall St between 6pm Thursday and 8am Friday can either call the station or Crimestoppers.
‘‘They would have been either carrying the stuff down the road or loading a van or truck.’’