Donors line up to help robbed Anzac collector

Generous Wanganui residents are lining up with financial donations to replace money swiped from an elderly Poppy Day collector.

But the RSA says the woman's welfare is more important than the money stolen from her.

That's the message from Wanganui RSA general manager Dave Large in the wake of several offers of donations to replace the stolen money.

Two young women grabbed a bucket containing about $300 from the woman's collection table outside a supermarket just after 1pm on Thursday. Initial reports that the culprit was a young man were incorrect.

"Somebody's just run up and took it and ran away," Mr Large said. People had asked the RSA to put its bank account number online so they could donate to make up for the stolen money.

"I think it's a great gesture," he said. "But we're more interested in the welfare of the lady than the money that was stolen."

The collector was unhurt but "fairly shaken".

Mr Large said it was important for her to know she had support.

"It would be nice if these young people gave the money back. It would be nice if they got some insight into why this is so wrong. It would be nice to try and help that person?"

The incident was "the exception" for Wanganui, he said.

Double S Motordrome owner Ray Stevens has collected $315 so far to replace the stolen money, pledging $100 himself and receiving another $100 from a farmer.

Other donations had come from people who had seen a post on his Facebook page.

"It's a really negative, bad thing that's happened ... people don't like seeing that, people want to help," Mr Stevens said.

He reckoned Wanganui residents were the most generous in the country proportionately.

He will wait to see if anybody else comes in and makes a donation before taking the money to the RSA by Anzac Day.

Anyone with information on the theft should contact Whanganui police on 06 349 0600 or call anonymously Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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