An accused thief with a penchant for freshly baked goods is wanted by police, after a fed-up Wollongong cafe owner shared footage of her appearing to pinch a sidewalk delivery intended for his business.
Customers of Victoria St cafe Bull & Bear went without their croissants, cannolis and mudcakes on Wednesday, after the woman paid a brazen visit about 5.30am, a few minutes before staff arrived to open for the day.
Footage captured by owner David Vidal appears to show the woman stopping to inspect a delivery crate. She selects two white boxes and several plastic bags full of croissants then walks away with a younger male at her side, her arms full.
Mr Vidal said it was common practice for bakeries to leave their goods on footpaths in the early hours of the morning for their cafe customers to collect at opening time. He said this wasn't the first time his delivery had been interfered with.
"People have stolen a loaf of bread here or there, but it's never been such a large quantity of stuff," he said.
"She's taken a couple of boxes of cakes and over a dozen croissants - all the croissants we had that day.
"Fair enough if someone was going hungry - they might take a croissant or two or a loaf of bread - but it was just that wilfulness - she was going to town!"
The theft occurred on the cafe's first day of trading after its Christmas break.
Adding insult to injury, Mr Vidal said widely shared footage of the incident had led to some "victim-blaming", with some commentators questioning why he didn't do more to protect his delivery.
"I find it pretty astonishing. People are saying, 'it's your own fault for having the bread out on the footpath' ... and, 'why don't you give the delivery driver keys [to the cafe]?'.
"But people don't know the intricacies of running a business. [Sharing keys] might seem like a solution, but my insurance might be put in jeopardy if I give my keys to a third party."
Police would like to speak to the woman pictured, who they say may be able to assist officers with their inquiries. Any information should be provided to Wollongong Police on 4226 7899 or Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.