By LUKE KEIOSKIE
A BRAZEN daylight robbery at Park Beach Plaza yesterday afternoon has cost a local charity group more than $400 but the volunteer who was robbed can't praise the community enough.
Rotary Coffs Harbour South volunteer, Chris Ryland, was manning a table selling bowel scan kits when a thief grabbed the money tin and ran for it.
Chris and a woman in the crowd took off in pursuit, but after chasing the thief through the back alleys of the Plaza they came across the now empty money container.
The thief made off with $440 but it's a double blow for the Rotary Club, with only a sixth of the money counting as profit and the rest going towards the cost of the bowel scan kits.
Chris has been volunteering on the stall for the past 15 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened.
Yet the affable Rotarian has refused to let the experience embitter him.
"The woman who helped me chase him deserves a medal and even the crew at Brumby's dropped off some hot cross buns when they heard the news," Chris said.
"The community has been marvellous."
It hasn't been a good start to the year for Rotary Coffs Harbour South, after flooding in February almost ruined their upcoming book fair.
But, again, the community has stepped up and lent a hand.
"The publicity of the flooding really spurred people to help us out and we're back on the track for the book fair in April," he said.
"It may not have been a successful year, but we're pressing on."
CCTV footage from the Plaza is believed to have been handed over to Coffs Harbour police in a bid to identify the youth.