Thieves ruin Christmas for local business

Thursday December 21, 2017 Written by Published in Crime
Mark and pregnant Cherrelle Sherwin, who run Mareko Island Creations, lost shop takings, family savings and staff bonuses in the break-in. 17122011 Mark and pregnant Cherrelle Sherwin, who run Mareko Island Creations, lost shop takings, family savings and staff bonuses in the break-in. 17122011

The owners of a local business say they are “devastated” after their offices were targeted by thieves who stole a safe containing shop takings, staff bonuses, family savings and passports over the weekend.

 

Mark and Cherrelle Sherwin, who is eight months pregnant, have run Mareko Island Creations in Avarua since 2001. They discovered the break-in on Monday morning and say it has ruined their Christmas.

The thieves got in by breaking louvre windows and then tore the safe from its fittings in the wall before making their getaway.

Cook Islands Police are investigating the burglary and say they are following up several leads.

“The safe had the shop takings and also money that my nephews, who are 11 and 14, had been saving all year,” said Mark. “They are going to New Zealand for five weeks and had put away after-school savings more than $1000 over the year. It is not a nice feeling for them to hear that their money has been taken.

“We had also prepared our staff bonuses for Christmas, and that money was also in the safe. It has affected a lot of people.

“It’s not been a great few days as we have had to pay our tax bill as well.”

Also in the safe were passports of family members, but fortunately Mark and Cherrelle had taken theirs out in order to book tickets overseas.

Cherrelle is pregnant and the couple must travel to Australia early next year for the birth of their second child for health reasons.

“It is bad as it is, but if we had lost our passports it could have been even more serious,” says Mark. “It has been a stressful time for us anyway, and this puts us under financial pressure as well. We are only a small local Cook Islands business, so we can’t just brush it off.”

He said that since the break-in he had taken steps to make the offices more secure and had installed cameras.

“It is the first time we have had anything like this happen. We did have security but we were pretty trusting and thought that in Raro you shouldn’t have to worry too much.

“We still think Rarotonga is a great place but from now on we are just going to be a bit more conscious of security.”

Mark paid tribute to the efforts of the police, who he says have been “on the case” since Monday morning.

“They have been great with us. They have kept us up to date and are going hard out to find out who did it.

“They are following up some leads and they have just been really good.”

Anyone with information should contact Cook Islands Police on 22499.    

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