Same thieves believed behind four break-ins at Auckland cafe in 10 days

Four break-ins at an Auckland cafe in the past 10 days are believed to be the work of the same group of people, the cafe’s manager says.

Crave Cafe in the Auckland suburb of Morningside said it had more than $25,000 worth of cash and items stolen in a string of burglaries.

Nigel Cottle, one of the owners and a manager at Crave, said it was broken into for the first time in five years on 14 May.

“We thought it was a one-off, they were focused on the cash. They took a small safe that had our overnight float, so maybe about $1000 worth,” he said.

“It was disappointing but we could live with that.”

Cottle replaced the safe with a new one, but three days later, the thieves returned and stole the replacement safe, as well as some other items.

Security was stepped up, but the cafe was broken into again, with a group bypassing the building’s alarm system.

On Friday morning, the cafe was broken into yet again, taking the cafe’s big safe which Cottle said was thought to be too heavy to steal.

“They somehow dragged it and rolled it down the stairs, did a whole lot of damage, dragged it across the patio and into a vehicle,” he said.

“It’s just really frustrating to have people coming back time after time.”

This person was caught on a security camera breaking into Crave in Auckland's Morningside.

Cottle said he thought the same group had hit the cafe multiple times.

“The M-O is the same, how they’ve gotten in, and what they’ve done, and how they’ve gone about it, they’ve built on the previous things so we’re pretty sure it is the same people,” he said.

“We got some footage, it was sort of three people, it’s 3am, and they’re pretty efficient in how they went about it.”

Crave was a social enterprise, and Cottle said it was committed to the neighbourhood.

“We’re a neighbourhood cafe, we give all our profits back into the neighbourhood, and we like to believe the best in people,” Cottle said.

“How do we make the world a better place to live, how do we make our neighbourhood of Morningside a better place to live, that’s our core mission.”

Cottle said Crave operated on a high trust model, but knew that some people may abuse that trust.

“After the first robbery, it’s like ‘that’s okay, some people are desperate, and it’s a difficult time’,” he said.

“But there’s a sense now that, after four break-ins, it’s like abuse as opposed to just opportunity.”

Security footage from break-in at Crave in Morningside, Auckland.

He said this had made staff nervous.

Despite this, Cottle said the community had rallied behind the cafe.

“A lot people come in, they’ve seen on Facebook, or they’ve heard about it from their neighbour, and just asking, just caring.

“It’s an emotional kind of sense of ‘hey, we really value you guys, and we’re really disappointed to see this has happened,’ and so that’s been cool.

“We won’t let this get us down.

“We’re super hoping that this is it now, that whoever, they’ve got all that they can get, and that we can be left to repair it and build trust again.”

Police said they had conducted a scene examination and were working to get a clear picture of what happened, and to identified the alleged offenders.

Auckland City West Area Commander Inspector Alisse Robertson said the the burglaries were reported to have occurred between 13-24 May.

She encouraged anyone with information to phone Police on 105, quoting file number 240524/6357.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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