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‘Blatant’ burglar takes float

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Marlon Tortoza has lost “peace of mind” after his restaurant was burgled for the second time in a matter of months.

The owner of Tripoli Bistro, in Kuripuni, said the early morning break-in yesterday had been “pretty gut wrenching”, despite just a couple of hundred dollars being taken.

“It’s terrible because stuff you work hard for, they come and take it.

“And then there’s the damage and lack of peace of mind.

“Someone could have been here at that time of the morning and the last thing they want is to be confronted with someone trying to break into the place.”

Fortunately no one had been on the premises when the crime happened just after 4am.

Mr Tortoza said the burglar “smashed through the front window with a rock”, and then made off with cash.

“It’s really petty,” he said.

“They didn’t take anything else, just the float which we keep outside the till because sometimes they try and smash the till for the sake of a couple of hundred dollars when the till is worth thousands.”

It had been a neighbour who reported the burglary to the police.

“[The neighbour] didn’t really see it but he heard the banging of the rock on the glass,” Mr Tortoza said,

“It took the thief about four of five attempts to smash through.”

In his five-year stint at the restaurant, this was just the second burglary Mr Tortoza had dealt with.

The first break-in took place just four months ago when thieves jemmied the back door open and stole the business’s safe that had about $1500 cash and vouchers inside.

Frozen meats were also stolen in the July burglary.

Since then the back of the restaurant had been reinforced.

“This time they came right through the front – really blatant,” he said.

The crime was captured on CCTV, with the footage showing a male offender.

Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said police were investigating the case.

According to the witness, the thief made off on a bicycle and headed towards Chapel St, Mr Sutton said.

“If anyone was on their way to or from work early in the morning and has seen a male on a pushbike in the vicinity of Chapel St, Kuripuni, or Queen St they should contact police.”


Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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