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Thieves rip off resource centre

Four burglars stole items worth thousands of dollars from Masterton’s Wairarapa Resource Centre, which recycles and resells donated goods to keep them from going to landfill.

The thieves spent two hours picking out electronics and tools between 1.50am and 3.50am on Tuesday morning before leaving with two supermarket trolley loads of goods, including a DeltaPAT appliance tester valued at almost $2000 that centre manager Trudie Jones said was “crucial to the business”.

They also stole a freezer full of meat that was being used to support families in need.

The burglars – three men and a woman – entered the premises after removing a sliding door from its hinges.

They spent much of their time boxing up goods, but then left in a hurry with two trolleys full, leaving the door wide open and abandoning several other containers of goods.

Jones said thought the thieves may have been scared off by the sound of a group of forestry workers who live above the centre getting up to go to work.

The woman and one of the men were identified after Jones posted CCTV images on social media and their names have been shared with police.

The identities of the other two men were still unconfirmed at print time.

The DeltaPAT appliance tester is essential for the test and tag process – a certification standard for checking the safety of electrical appliances – that all New Zealand stores must complete before selling second-hand electronics.

Jones said the centre has a dedicated test and tag person, whose certification course in Wellington had been paid for by the centre.

“As a standalone centre without big backers, we’re running on a shoestring here,” she said.

“We’re just trying to help people, and these people have just cleaned us out.

“It’s terrible because it’s all donated goods, given by people trying to do something good.”

Jones said the centre offers work experience to Wairarapa community members, helping them move into paid employment, and currently has 23 employees and volunteers.

“We’ve been operating for 10 years, and this is the first time we’ve been burgled,” she said.

Police said they were in the initial phase of assessing the case and enquiries were ongoing.

    If you know anything about the burglary or the whereabouts of the DeltaPAT test and tag machine, contact police on 105, citing file number 230502/0415

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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