$20,000 worth of power tools and gardening equipment stolen from community groups in Christchurch

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Christchurch's Richmond Community Garden, The Riverlution Collective and The Green Lab have all been hit hard by a series of coordinated robberies.

The green lab / stuff

Christchurch’s Richmond Community Garden, The Riverlution Collective and The Green Lab have all been hit hard by a series of coordinated robberies.

Community groups in Christchurch have lost more than $20,000 worth of power tools and gardening equipment in a series of burglaries.

There have been three separate burglaries targeting the property of community groups since the start of December.

All groups are located in Richmond, a northeast suburb of Christchurch.

The properties broken into were a soon-to-open container cafe, a mobile tool loan and workshop, and the garage of a community meeting space, Richmond Community Garden President Hayley Guglietta said.

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The container cafe was a project of the Riverlution Collective, the mobile tool loan was owned by The Green Lab, while the meeting space – a former house in the city’s red zone – is owned by the Richmond Community Garden.

Hayley Guglietta, president of the Richmond Community Garden Trust, says her deceitful thieves want to target a group creating 'cool spaces for the community'

CHRIS SKELTON / Stuff

Hayley Guglietta, president of the Richmond Community Garden Trust, says her deceitful thieves want to target a group creating ‘cool spaces for the community’

Guglietta said power tools and gardening equipment – ​​including two scroll saws, two bench saws, a trimmer and a chainsaw – were stolen during the break-ins.

“[It is] everything we need to do what we do,” she said.

The combined value of the stolen items was likely over $20,000, Guglietta said.

“[It is] really disappointing that people want to target a community group that creates cool spaces for community enjoyment.

“We try to focus on the positives and when little things happen we move on, fix things, do what we need to do, but it’s been a big success for us.”

Guglietta said the groups are now making an effort to borrow tools from other community members.

Collective Give a small page was also set up for donations.

“It’s disheartening when you have volunteers giving their time and their own tools to help us get things done, and it happens to them,” Guglietta said.

The opening of the container cafe had been delayed by the burglary, she said.

“We’re just looking over there on Trade Me and Facebook and whatever to see if we can find any of our stuff.”

Green Lab director Khye Hitchcock said that

The green lab / stuff

Green Lab director Khye Hitchcock said “serious power tools were used in the break-in, it was not opportunistic”.

The loss of resources from the mobile tool loan and workshop was heartbreaking, said Green Lab director Khye Hitchcock.

“Serious power tools were used to break in, he was not an opportunist.”

Security at all sites has been tightened since the burglaries. The third burglary, at the community center garage, was caught on CCTV and the footage was provided to police, Guglietta said.

Local business Alarm Solutions sponsored a pre-loved portable alarm system for The Green Lab’s tool loan and neighbors help keep tabs on various properties.

A police spokeswoman confirmed all three break-ins and said investigations were ongoing.

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