‘Heart­break­ing’ bur­glary at Os­tend cafe

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - ROSE DAVIS

Wai­heke cafe own­ers Wil­low Rown­tree and Jan­ice Smyth were hit hard by a bur­glary on Wai­tangi Day.

Thieves broke into Tim­buktu No­madic Deli in Os­tend be­tween 12pm on Fe­bru­ary 6 and 7am the next morn­ing, tak­ing al­most $1000 in cash.

While the cafe is in­sured, the ex­cess is $1000, so the fledg­ling busi­ness has to cope with the loss with­out an in­surance pay­out, Rown­tree said.

‘‘I cried. We’re track­ing well but we haven’t got to the point we’re mak­ing a profit, so some­thing like this hurts so much,’’ Rown­tree said.

Bur­glars ap­pear to have en­tered the cafe by break­ing an alu­minium win­dow frame and also broke a store­room lock, be­fore steal­ing cash.

The busi­ness launched two years ago, but was strug­gling be­fore Smyth be­came Rown­tree’s busi­ness part­ner about six months ago.

The two own­ers some­times work seven days a week, run­ning the cafe, sell­ing healthy din­ners to take away, cater­ing for wed­dings and events, and set­ting up gourmet pic­nics.

Ap­pre­cia­tive feed­back has helped Rown­tree and Smyth feel con­fi­dent their cook­ing, which in­cludes ve­gan, gluten free and pa­leo op­tions, is hit­ting the right note with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We’re putting ev­ery­thing in and hop­ing it will pay off.

‘‘We’ve been feel­ing so good about the busi­ness, but some­thing like this is hard on you emo­tion­ally when you’ve been work­ing so hard,’’ Rown­tree said.

An in­flux of cus­tomers turned up straight af­ter the bur­glary to ‘‘buy an ex­tra cof­fee’’.

‘‘The com­mu­nity has been amaz­ing.

‘‘It was very reaf­firm­ing for us in the face of feel­ing so gut­ted to have all that love and sup­port com­ing in.

‘‘It helps you get back on your feet,’’ Rown­tree said.

An evening event, with DJS play­ing at the cafe, is planned on March 10 to helped re­cover the stolen cash.

De­ter­mined to find the pos­i­tive in ad­ver­sity, the own­ers have taken the bur­glary as a ‘‘wake-up’’ call to im­prove se­cu­rity, Smyth said.

Wai­heke Sergeant Martin Fel­ton said po­lice are keen to hear from any­one who might have in­for­ma­tion about the bur­glary.

‘‘The only way we’re go­ing to get any­thing back is by find­ing the cul­prit,’’ Rown­tree said.

Jan­ice Smyth and Wil­low Rown­tree have been ‘‘gut­ted’’ by a bur­glary on Wai­tangi Day. ROSE DAVIS/STUFF

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