Community support needed after theft from market stall
UPDATE 2.30PM: THE community has rallied around a woman who had thousands of dollars worth of takings snatched from her market stall this morning.
Martin Elms, who was at the woman's mango stall shortly after the theft, said Yeppoon shouldn't be defined by the bad acts of one person.
A regular market-goer, Martin said it was a shock to hear the woman's takings and her phone, which stored irreplaceable family photos, had been stolen.
"It was really surprising there was a theft there," he said.
"It's such a relaxed atmosphere, you can let your guard down."
Martin said the woman continued serving a long line of customers after the theft, but the community spirit soon kicked in.
He said some people ran off to do laps of the market area, looking for the man the woman described.
Martin lent the woman his phone so she could contact the police, jumping in to keep selling mangoes with some others while she was reporting the theft.
He later posted in the Yeppoon Families Facebook page, encouraging everyone to buy the woman's produce and support the market stall.
With thousands of dollars in cash taken, Martin said any family would find it difficult to recover this close to Christmas.
Although the event was negative, Martin said it was good to see such community spirit as people rallied to help the woman.
He said while the community couldn't guarantee getting the money back, they could support the woman at the markets if she returned next week.
11AM: AN OPPORTUNISTIC thief has stolen both money and the Christmas spirit from a community market stall this morning.
A Queensland Police Service spokesperson confirmed the theft of cash from a stall at the Yeppoon Community Markets in Park St had been reported to police at 7am.
But it was Capricornia MP Michelle Landry who raised the alarm on social media, writing a description of the man who was seen driving away in a green car.
In separate incidents last week, the tip jars from two Yeppoon cafes were also stolen.
The theft of that cash has put a dampener on Christmas celebrations for workers, with savings for end of year parties now gone.
Charlie's on the Beach manager Suzie Neilsen said their tip jar was stolen on Monday, not long after they had converted all the coins to notes.
She said there was about $150 in the jar, which was to be used for the staff Christmas party.
"I don't even know how they did it," Suzie said.
"They only had a small window of opportunity."
Suzie said it was the first time the business had been victim to that type of theft, but said there was not much the business could do except keep up their great customer service ahead of Christmas.
"We get a lot of regulars and everyone's really friendly and lovely in Yeppoon," she said.
"Obviously they needed it more than we did."
The Grind was also targeted by a brazen thief.
The manager said it wasn't the first time the cafe had been the victim of opportunistic crime, with their tip jars stolen several times in the past.
"It's not uncommon it gets stolen," she said.
"They're quite brazen in their attempts to take something.
"It's no biggie.
"It's just a bit sad that unfortunately people resort to crime to fund their life."