Aaron and Nia Kugel from News Xpress Lowood have had to lock and chain a new flood-relief collection box on the store counter after the last jar was stolen.
Aaron and Nia Kugel from News Xpress Lowood have had to lock and chain a new flood-relief collection box on the store counter after the last jar was stolen. Rob Williams

Flood funds stolen

THE Lowood community is furious after a teenager stole a flood donation jar containing thousands of their hard-earned dollars.

The glass jar – heavily weighed down by the generosity of locals – was on the counter of the NewsXpress store in Main Street, when a male, thought to have been about 13 years old, ran in, grabbed it and ran away about 4pm on Saturday.

The offender was wearing a hooded jacket and a tea-towel over his face.

However NewsXpress Lowood owner Nia Kugel said members of the community were already aware of who the accused was.

“Our aim was to use that money to buy school books for children in Lowood,” Mrs Kugel said.

“We don’t know exactly how much was in there, but it was in the thousands.

“People were throwing $50 notes in there and it weighed a tonne – I don’t know how the kid lifted it.”

Two staff members were at the front counter when the theft occurred, however the fleet-footed youngster caught everybody off-guard.

Mrs Kugel said the idea that somebody would steal from flood victims was hard to fathom, particularly given the amazing generosity shown by Lowood residents who supported the fundraiser.

“We were going to count it and hand it over on Monday,” she said.

“It’s the whole moral issue that

gets me. It was a big community thing, it had so much meaning for everyone. It was a goal of our entire community.

“We are just devastated.”

Mrs Kugel said she doubted the money would be returned.

Police were unwilling to comment on the possibility of whether or not the money would be recovered from the alleged offender.

Lowood acting officer in charge Sergeant Dale Gough said a 13-year-old Lowood male was assisting police from the Ipswich Child Protection and Investigation Unit with their inquiries.

Sgt Gough said the same youth was also assisting police inquiries into the theft of a flood-donation tin from the Country Fried Chicken store, also on Main Street, Lowood, which occurred on January 25.



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