This is the moment heartless crooks swiped a charity bucket from an Aberdeen gym containing cash to pay for Christmas presents for disadvantaged children.
The pair struck at DW Sports Fitness at Beach Boulevard Retail Park, making off with a bucket used to collect cash for Northsound’s Cash for Kids Christmas toy appeal.
The man and woman entered just after 8pm on Tuesday, snooping inside the bucket to see how much cash was inside.
Then the woman distracted a female member of staff by feigning an interest in joining as a member. When the worker’s back was turned, the man looked around before brazenly snatching the bucket and walking out of the premises. The pair were in and out of the gym in less than two-and-a-half minutes.
Fortunately the bucket had been emptied shortly before they came in. Had the thieves struck a few hours earlier, they could have made off with hundreds of pounds. There was less than £100 in the bucket when it was taken.
But duty manager Mary Anderson fears that the criminals could use the branded bucket to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public into giving them cash.
She said: “I want people to be careful. If it’s our members of staff they’ll be wearing a Cash for Kids t-shirt. These people won’t be.”
She added: “I was mortified when I found out what had happened.
“We’d been out giving out guest passes with the bucket to try and raise awareness for the appeal.”
Their efforts raised around £200-£300, which was collected by the charity a few hours before the thieves arrived.
Ms Anderson added: “We’re just glad it didn’t happen earlier. We have 350 people through the door every day donating so it could have been a lot worse.
“I just can’t believe it. The police said they expect this sort of thing to happen in the city centre but not so much here. I don’t know why we were targeted, maybe they saw the signs in the window. To come through two doors into a members only gym… It’s taken us all aback.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed that inquiries are still ongoing.