Charity box thieves chased through Wick
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POLICE are trying to trace two thieves who chanced their luck stealing a charity box and a petty-cash tin from a Wick business.
The pair struck between 3.50pm and 4pm on Thursday at the D Sutherland and Son wood yard in Union Street, lifting a lifeboat charity box and a tin filled with petty cash. They were chased by a local man who thought they looked suspicious.
Police confirmed that the thieves dropped the charity box and cash tin and their contents have since been recovered.
In a statement issued today, a police spokesperson said officers are seeking to identify two males in relation to the incident with both described as being in their mid-teens, around 5ft 5in tall and of slight build.
Rob Sutherland, who owns the wood yard, thinks it was an "opportunist" incident and he had spoken to the suspected perpetrators just before the incident when they came in as "regular customers" looking for wood preservative.
"These two lads around 17 came in and one of them seemed a bit spaced out," Mr Sutherland said.
"They asked to look at preservatives and wanted prices but they were really just 'casing the joint', as they say in America. They were wearing dark clothes and were slightly built."
Mr Sutherland said that "one boy seemed genuinely interested" in the buying the items he had asked for but the other one made his way to the small office at the front of the premises.
A member of staff stopped him from entering the office and the two decided to head off.
Another customer who was suspicious of the two young men told the business owner, as she was leaving, that she was worried about her car and went to check on it.
"She came back in two or three minutes later and said those boys were still hanging around and that I should keep an eye on them.
"At this point I went to a side-gate of the mill and there was no sign of them.
"Meanwhile, they were in here [the office] and they took the lifeboat [charity box] and pulled out the cash drawer."
Mr Sutherland said that the boys had "scarpered" along with the RNLI charity box and petty-cash tin.
He then said that a local joiner, who was heading to his yard, was suspicious when he saw "the lad walking up the street with the lifeboat under his arm" and shouted at them.
"He thought 'they're not lifeboat people' and when he chased after them they dropped the lifeboat and some of the cash. They took off towards the river but we don't know where they went after that."
Mr Sutherland said that though most of the cash was recovered he thinks the pair may have got away with a small amount.
Anyone with information can call 101, quoting incident NJ2174/19, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Police in Wick are also appealing for information after the theft of garden equipment from a container outside a property in Macrae Street between noon last Thursday and 9am the next day.
Anyone with information can contact police on 101, quoting incident 1095 of November 1, or anonymously via Crimestoppers.