St John donation box snatched

A young woman has been caught on CCTV allegedly snatching a St John Ambulance donation box.

She was captured clearly on CCTV as she entered the shop, snatched the donations box and fled about 5.30pm on Saturday.

Sergeant Peter Masters, of Paihia police, said the woman was one of three young females and one male who had been seen around Opua from about 11am that morning.

"This crime will be solved by someone who recognises the girl. It's quite blatant, the way she reaches in and takes the box," he said.

No one in Opua had recognised her so it was thought she was from outside the Bay of Islands, possibly from the Whangarei district.

Mr Masters urged anyone who knew who she was to contact the Paihia station on (09) 402 7130.

The unusually clear CCTV images have already been widely shared on social media.

They show two young women entering the shop, which is next to the Opua ferry ramp, with the second girl lingering at the door before lunging for the donations box and fleeing.

Angry Opua residents have been circulating the images in a bid to identify the alleged offenders.

St John Paihia manager Shane Schrafft said the organisation depended strongly on donations and public support to keep the ambulance service running.

"So it's disappointing when this sort of thing happens," he said.

- Northern Advocate

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