Hospice theft caught on camera

Butterflies - the Hospice Op-shop volunteer Gerry Elliman has been forced to chain down fur coats...
Butterflies - the Hospice Op-shop volunteer Gerry Elliman has been forced to chain down fur coats for sale at the premises after the recent theft of one priced at $500. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Gerry Elliman has taken to wearing a key around his neck.

It is not for his house, nor a secret box of treasures but for chains around women's fur coats for sale in Butterflies - the Hospice Op-shop.

Mr Elliman, a shop volunteer, took to securing some of the store's stock following the recent theft of a $500 fur coat.

"We have to chain them now. I carry a key around my neck," he said.

The coat, donated along with several others last year, was taken by a woman from a mannequin sited next to the front door.

The incident, in which she moved behind racks of clothes and checked no staff were looking, was caught on camera.

Following a spate of thefts two years ago, JB Security installed four cameras in the store and would now put in a fifth.

The theft was reported to police, who were investigating, and store volunteers and customers had their "eyes wide open" for the well dressed robber.

CCTV footage of the woman alleged to have stolen the coat. Photo supplied.
CCTV footage of the woman alleged to have stolen the coat. Photo supplied.
"We feel she has taken the name 'opportunity shop' far too literally," Mr Elliman said.

Shop supervisor Robyn Elliman was "angry" over the incident, asking how someone could steal from the hospice.

"I'd like her prosecuted. I'd like her to have to repay the price of the coat, plus a bit more," she said.

She described the full-length coat as looking "striped", as the fur was brown with black ends. It also had hook and eye fasteners rather than buttons, and no label.

Since the theft, Mrs Elliman had visited three alteration businesses, after "getting leads that the coat might be getting altered", but had not found it.

However, she was confident the woman, who regularly visited the hospice shop, would be caught.

"We will find her."

ellie.constantine@odt.co.nz

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