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Thieves target popular Auckland cafe Crave, steal cash and audio equipment

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Crave Cafe in the Auckland suburb of Morningside said an overnight burglary is a “real kick in the teeth” in the face of challenging economic conditions for New Zealand’s hospitality industry.

A group of thieves ripped the community cafe’s ranch slider open and broke the locks before stealing cash and speaker equipment.

General manager Nigel Cottle told the Herald the group used sheer brute force to push through the door.

He said the group ransacked the office and, after trying to smash the lock off, they took the whole safe filled with nearly $1000 cash.

Cottle believed the group knew what they were doing and knew where one would go in a place like Crave.

“My hunch is that it wasn’t someone really well known to us … but they are part of a semi-organised thing but they are quite focused,” he said.

“They didn’t take any wine, didn’t take an iPad or other bits of technology that were right there. Things were ransacked, but not broken.

“It highlights a level of organisation.”

Cottle said the cafe would likely have to write off the stolen $1000.

He said it is such a tough time for hospitality businesses at the moment and the cafe’s CCTV and hard drives recently failed.

“In this tougher climate, you put off things that are not urgent to run the business.”

The cafe is located near Morningside train station and donates all of its profits to the “greater Morningside neighbourhood”.

It runs community events throughout the year, including street parties with free food, and helps anyone in the community needing a hand, from solo mums and homeless people to other not-for-profits.

Cottle said members of the local community have come in to support the cafe since the break-in.

“I was surprised by the level of response. There has been a high level of care.

“These are the things that highlight the bit of community engagement and involvement and connection and show that people care.

“It is an encouraging response, in some way.”

Cottle said the tough economic environment is placing even more stress on Crave, thus reducing the amount of money returned to the local community.

In 2018, it was revealed, in one single day, the cafe lost more than $200 in cash after customers walked out without paying.

A post on the cafe’s Instagram stories showed the receipts for all the “walkouts”. Some were just for a couple of coffees, others for entire meals. In total, the cafe lost about $220 and that day was no different to a lot of others.

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