Somebody is stealing bags of pine cones and kindling from a small roadside stall in Ettrick, which is upsetting the owners as the money raised goes towards providing joy for a 7-year-old girl.
Patrick Niederer and partner Chiko Kando have been selling kindling on the side of the road outside their home using an honesty box system.
However, since April 3 they have lost 10 bags of cones and four bags of kindling, worth nearly $100.
The thefts have taken place at night.
Mr Niederer said three bags of cones in plastic seed bags went missing on Saturday night after 9.30pm.
In addition to that, a further five bags were stolen on Sunday night within a 20-minute period.
Ms Kondo said the money raised went towards her granddaughter in Auckland, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
“Patrick spends hours and hours picking up cones and cutting kindling so we can sell them,” she said.
“My granddaughter loves pony rides and animals and visiting places and that all costs money, so we are doing it to bring her some little joys.”
Mr Niederer said they had erected the stall last winter and not had lost anything.
Ms Kondo said they even had one person take a bag of cones, but then drop money into them the following day, which they were delighted about.
“We were 200% overwhelmed when they came back,” she said.
The bags used to disappear in singles or pairs, but now the thief is taking three or more at a time.
Mr Niederer said he had since decided to put the bags out of sight at night.
He arrived home at 7pm on Sunday and had seen the stall full, but by the time he went out at 7.20pm to put them away, five bags had been stolen.
To date the stall had raised about $350.
“Knowing somebody out there looking at us like that, it hurts us,” Ms Kando said.
Mr Niederer said if people wanted free cones and kindling, there were plenty down by the river that could be picked up, and plenty of places to get kindling that had dropped from trees.
“It is absolutely rude that somebody is stealing from a 7-year-old girl,” he said.
The police have been advised.