Meat bandits steal fully stocked freezer from Takapuna restaurant
• May 3, 2023
Four thieves broke into Qian Jiang’s restaurant in Takapuna and stole a fully-stocked fridge of meat. PHOTO: Rebecca Lu.
A Chinese restaurant in Takapuna was broken into Monday night with culprits taking only a fully stocked freezer and leaving other valuables behind.
At around 3.30 am, four people broke into the back storage room of QMT Dumplings on Lake Road and stole the freezer containing the restaurant’s entire meat supply and other pre-prepared foods.
Owner Qian Jiang says the theft is a puzzling and disappointing setback for his business. With the fridge gone, the staff are unable to prepare most of the usual meals to sell to their customers.
“It’s bizarre that they only took the freezer and not the cash in the register or our electronics. But there was around $500 worth of supply in that [freezer] not including the unit itself.
“It’s especially terrible because our chef stayed overtime mixing the meat for our signature dumplings and making the pastries. To come back the next morning and see all that work gone was a rude shock.”
Mr Jiang says the restaurant has temporarily shut down for the week while he looks into getting a replacement freezer.
“The problem is getting a new refrigerator of this size is not only expensive but difficult on short notice.”
However, the bigger concern, according to Jiang, is the safety of his staff and the possibility that the new unit will be stolen again.
“I have cleaners leaving late at night and chefs and waitresses arriving early in the morning so it’s scary to think what might have happened if my staff ran into these guys.”
Jiang and his staff say the break-in has left them feeling violated.
A long-time customer of QMT Dumplings, Yan Zhong, says the local community is sad to see the restaurant targeted by thieves.
“It’s disheartening to see this happen to [Mr Jiang] and other hard-working local businesses who are trying to earn a living. The past few years haven’t been easy on them considering the financial strain of [the pandemic].”
Jiang says he recalls seeing a large grey van in his restaurant's parking lot multiple times leading up to the incident but cannot confirm if it’s linked to the break-in.
He says the incident has been reported to the police.
According to police data, there have been 99,631 reports of theft, burglary and robbery between April 2022 and April 2023 in Auckland. That is up by 12,349 compared to the same period 12 months earlier.