OVERWHELMING RESPONSE: Top Shop owner Tom Gull,   daughter Amber and  granddaughter Leila Walters inspect the security chain they have installed on the tin after it was stolen on Thursday.
OVERWHELMING RESPONSE: Top Shop owner Tom Gull, daughter Amber and granddaughter Leila Walters inspect the security chain they have installed on the tin after it was stolen on Thursday. Tim Howard

CHARITY THEFT: Locals show thieves what they think of them

THE SOUTH Grafton community has responded to news of the theft of a charity tin raising money for an ill baby by dipping into their wallets and pockets.

On Thursday afternoon a patron of the Top Shop in Bent St made off with the tin, to the disgust of owners Tom and Karen Gull and daughter Amber.

Fortunately Ms Gull had just emptied the tin of $362.

"It had barely anything in it,” she said. "It might've had $20.”

Ms Gull said she was raising money for her friend Jess Woolfe and her seriously ill baby Emerald, who has been in Westmead Children's Hospital since late March.

"I've known Jess since we've been at school and I just wanted to do something to help her,” Ms Gull said.

"I've had my baby Leila in hospital, so I know what it's like.

"Obviously it wasn't as bad as Jess and Em, but all the expenses mount up and you still have to do the food shopping, pay the mortgage, make car repayments. They don't stop.”

Mr Gull was blown away by the community response to the news of the theft.

"We put it out on Facebook and this morning people were coming in and stuffing in $50 notes and $20s,” he said.

"A lot of customers were commenting on it and pulling out whatever change they had.

"The schoolkids have been coming to drop in any coins they've got on them.

"We've had tradies emptying the coins from the ashtrays in their cars to put in the tin.”

Mr Gull doubted it was a regular customer who stole the tin.

"We've got a great relationship with all our customers,” he said. ”I'm sure it was someone passing through who took it.”

The Gulls have now chained the tin to the shop counter.



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