By Emily Norman
“Scumbag” burglars who broke into a Masterton restaurant over the weekend have left its manger shocked and disappointed.
Marlon Tortoza of Tripoli Bistro in Kuripuni said when he arrived at work on Saturday morning, the building’s alarm was going off and the restaurant’s back door was wide open.
He said the thieves had jumped the fence and jemmied the back door open, triggering the alarm.
They stole the business’s safe which had about $1500 cash and vouchers, and they had also busted the freezer open to steal frozen meats, he said.
“We didn’t open until later that day because of [the burglary],” he said.
“I was very shocked. I just couldn’t function properly, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t even sleep that night.
“The psychological effect was just… like every night I couldn’t get to sleep, I kept thinking, are they going to break into my place again and try to clean it out of everything?”
The culprits had left their fingerprints and footprints at the scene, which police investigated yesterday afternoon to identify possible leads, but Mr Tortoza has some leads of his own.
“I’ve been given a couple of names of people who have possibly done it through the grapevine,” he said.
“And I hope the police are proactive about it.
“In the scale of things I understand this is not a major incident because no one was hurt, but if we don’t stop this behaviour it will only get worse.
“It’s been happening a lot in Masterton, my son has had his bike stolen, the chef here has had his bike stolen in town, people have had their houses broken into.
“Whoever has been doing it, they’re getting away with it and they need to be stopped and exposed.”
Mr Tortoza said it was an unfortunate situation to be in, “but it is what it is”.
“I mean, in five years this has never happened, so it’s a bit unfortunate that this has happened now,” he said.
“I think whoever did this, they do this for a living, they break into peoples’ homes and businesses and take stuff.
“When people say they steal or burgle to feed their family that’s not right, you know.
“There is infrastructure in place for people like that, you know. They do it because they are scumbags really.”
Mr Tortoza said the stolen goods were covered under insurance and the landlord would fix the back door and reinforce it.
“I haven’t got cameras yet but I will have some put in,” he said.
“Obviously we can’t go back in time and undo what has been done but if these people get caught, maybe we can prevent and solve a lot more crimes by the same people.”