A Queensland community is reeling after a gang of brazen thieves were caught on CCTV stealing from a charity tin at a pet store.
Seven News has released footage of three teenagers entering the Pets Connect store in the suburb of Strathpine on Monday. In the clip, two boys can be seen distracting staff while a female accomplice makes her way to the store’s counter.
Using a jumper, the girl covers the charity tin before sneaking out the store with it.
“For someone to steal from the needy, it’s just disgusting,” Dayna Wells from Pets Connect told Seven News.
Pets Connect had been using the charity tin to donate money to the Soquilichi Rescue Ranch – a not-for-profit organisation that saves animals from death row.
“Soquilichi Rescue Ranch rely heavily on any donation, no matter how small, so to lose this charity box is heartbreaking,” a message posted on the Pets Connect Facebook page read. “Without the kind generosity of the public, many of these animals would have already been euthanized … so please anyone with a few spare dollars your help is appreciated.”
Pets Connect said it was initially hesitant to refuse airing footage of the thieves, but decided after a debate that they wanted to raise awareness for the rescue ranch. After Seven News aired the footage, the business had a change of heart.
“Do not steal from us unless you are prepared to go viral,” they wrote on Facebook. “From now on we will post ALL thefts, including another one today!”
Viewers at home slammed the trio for their disgusting act.
One viewer wrote: “A generation with no respect or morals, new laws should be brought out for tougher laws on first offers and reoffenders”.
Another message on Facebook read: “In the old days kids did wrong they had two choices either went to jail or joined the army. This should be the option today”.
A third added: “Just a kid. What position is a kid her age in to feel the need to steal. Hope she is found, and is given a chance to change her ways, or the position she is in to get her to steal”.
Pets Connect later reported that the three people in question had been identified and were being searched by police.
It’s not the first time thieves have stolen from charity collection tins. Earlier this year, a man was caught on camera stealing a World’s Greatest Shave charity box from a club.