Boom and bust: bra thief strikes again

Preparing to add dozens of  bras from overseas  to the revived Cardrona Valley bra fence on...
Preparing to add dozens of bras from overseas to the revived Cardrona Valley bra fence on Sunday are (from left) Sarah Stewart, Katrina Johnstone, Sam Lee, Rachel O'Connell and John Lee. By yesterday morning, all the bras had gone. Photo by Stephen...

While the Queenstown Lakes District Council has no compliance issues with the Cardrona Valley's revived bra fence this time around, it seems somebody else certainly does.

After twice being surreptitiously stripped of all its undergarments last week, the fence was given a much-needed boost at the weekend with the addition of dozens of bras sent from around the world. However, less than 24 hours later, all of them had vanished from the fence again, leaving no clue as to who was responsible.

''I might just have to go and sit there - I've got some good binoculars,'' the man driving the fence's revival, Sam Lee, said.

His father, John Lee - creator of the original world-famous bra fence on the boundary of the family's land - brought bag-loads of bras along to an organised Sunday bra-hanging at the fence. Since the QLDC directed the removal of the estimated 1500 bras for traffic safety reasons in 2006, Mr Lee sen had continued to receive bras in the post from women all over the globe, the most recent arriving just a week ago from Germany.

With nowhere to hang them, the overseas bras had been stored away, some for years, before being strung on the fence on Sunday alongside some local contributions. By 9am yesterday morning, all 75 were gone.

Sam Lee said he had been advised by the council it was not behind the three separate bra removal incidents.

A statement by QLDC chief executive Adam Feeley emailed to the Otago Daily Times yesterday said the council had reviewed previous advice, given in 2005, relating to whether the bra fence required a consent.

''It now does not consider that the fence is caught by the provisions of the district plan. Accordingly, it follows that it will not be taking action against it for reason of non-compliance with the district plan,'' Mr Feeley said.

A Facebook page for the new bra fence has attracted nearly 300 followers, many of whom expressed their outrage yesterday as news of the latest plundering broke.

''What horrible people to do this,'' Katrina Craigie wrote.

''What a coward someone has to be to steal them in the middle of the night instead of coming forward and raising any issues they might have,'' Nicky Anderson agreed.

While reluctant to waste police time, Sam Lee was keen to find out the legalities of the bras being taken.

''It's not their property and they're removing them, so does it constitute theft?''

He remained undeterred after the latest twist yesterday.

''I'm not lying down on this one yet. Every time they do it, it just gains more momentum ... They do it a favour.

''We'll just keep battling away to keep those bras on the fence somehow.''

The fence was ''a bit of fun'' and a good way to attract people to the area, he said..

''People still turn up at the Cardrona Hotel and ask 'Where's the bra fence?'''

The Lees said the fence still featured in a Lonely Planet New Zealand guide, which was probably what prompted people to continue to send their bras to the Cardrona Valley.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz

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