Rough start for new restaurant

Burglary leaves family business with huge losses.

Burglary leaves family business with huge losses.

Husband and wife owners of Gisborne’s newest restaurant have had a rough time in their first few months of business here — including the shock of a major burglary.

They have had staff issues plus a break-in last week that has left them reeling — with losses totalling $15,000 in cash, alcohol, food and damage.

Eftpos cables were cut, and plates and glasses broken.

Owners William Almasri, 34, and Rina Lopati, 27, say they will not give up.

The chose Gisborne as a place to live and opened their Italian restaurant Portofino in Peel Street only four months ago.

The window broken to gain access to the restaurant was at ceiling height, above a large stainless steel unit in the restaurant — the sort of route they say only someone who knew the building would know.

Footage from their security cameras revealed the perpetrator was armed with a knife and a screwdriver. Blood and hand prints were left at the scene.

Portofino, one of eight such restaurants around New Zealand, is a family business.

The couple moved from Auckland and put a lot of money into their new life here.

But money is not everything and peace of mind would mean more to them.

“We have to carry on.

“Gisborne is a lovely place — a lovely place to live with no noise, no traffic.

“Seventy percent of people in Gisborne are lovely helpful people.

“They have tried to help us as much as they can, especially as they know we are not from Gisborne.

“But 30 percent — really bad.

“It is how they treat us. I feel like because I am a different nationality, they treat us differently.”

Mr Almasri was born in Jordan and raised in Palestine.

He has known hard times.

“I’ve faced worse than this in my life but this has let me down so much.”

He came to New Zealand six years ago and had not experienced these sorts of issues before.

  • Gisborne police say they have some good leads on last week’s burglary.

Husband and wife owners of Gisborne’s newest restaurant have had a rough time in their first few months of business here — including the shock of a major burglary.

They have had staff issues plus a break-in last week that has left them reeling — with losses totalling $15,000 in cash, alcohol, food and damage.

Eftpos cables were cut, and plates and glasses broken.

Owners William Almasri, 34, and Rina Lopati, 27, say they will not give up.

The chose Gisborne as a place to live and opened their Italian restaurant Portofino in Peel Street only four months ago.

The window broken to gain access to the restaurant was at ceiling height, above a large stainless steel unit in the restaurant — the sort of route they say only someone who knew the building would know.

Footage from their security cameras revealed the perpetrator was armed with a knife and a screwdriver. Blood and hand prints were left at the scene.

Portofino, one of eight such restaurants around New Zealand, is a family business.

The couple moved from Auckland and put a lot of money into their new life here.

But money is not everything and peace of mind would mean more to them.

“We have to carry on.

“Gisborne is a lovely place — a lovely place to live with no noise, no traffic.

“Seventy percent of people in Gisborne are lovely helpful people.

“They have tried to help us as much as they can, especially as they know we are not from Gisborne.

“But 30 percent — really bad.

“It is how they treat us. I feel like because I am a different nationality, they treat us differently.”

Mr Almasri was born in Jordan and raised in Palestine.

He has known hard times.

“I’ve faced worse than this in my life but this has let me down so much.”

He came to New Zealand six years ago and had not experienced these sorts of issues before.

  • Gisborne police say they have some good leads on last week’s burglary.

Ruatoria’s St John station hit by theft

Thieves have hit the Ruatoria St John ambulance station for the second time in just over two months.

This time they made off with a floodlight from the outside of the building.

Two floodlights were taken from the station one night in late July.

“The floodlights at the back of the base went that night, and in this latest incident the light in the front was taken,” said St John territory manager Shane Clapperton.

“It’s disappointing that people would target an ambulance station in this way.

“We are there to help and support the community and it’s a shame that some people think it’s OK to steal from us.”

Mr Clapperton said replacing the lights would cost St John money “. . . and we are a charitable organisation.

“We are busy trying to raise some money now to put a security fence around the Ruatoria ambulance station.”

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