Grieving parents hit by cruel thieves for second time

A VILLAGE shop, run by the parents of murdered student Kate Zaks, has once again been the target for cruel thieves.

Two men, armed with a sledgehammer, carried out a ‘smash and grab’ raid at the Staplecross Post Office and Stores in the early hours of the morning on Friday February 17.

The pair smashed the glass in the front door to get into the shop and escaped with up to £2,000 worth of cigarettes in the 3.30am raid.

The pair then made off in a small, dark coloured vehicle, heading towards Northiam.

The shop was run by Greg and Viola Zaks, whose 21-year-old daughter Kate was found dead near a railway embankment in Krakow, Poland, in July last year.

The couple had run the store for around 10 years, but following the devastating death of Kate, who was known locally as Kia, they left Staplecross last week to move back to their native Poland.

It is the second time thieves have targeted the store in recent months.

Less than two weeks after Kate’s death, despite seeing the flowers and messages of condolences outside the shop, callous thieves stole staff wages from the till in a distraction burglary.

Police say last week’s smash and grab raid is being linked to a series of similar offences across Rother and Kent.

Thefts have been reported at Northiam and Iden, and on February 1, Westfield News in Chapel Lane was also the target for thieves.

The men helped themselves to cigarettes and tobacco during the raid, which happened at 3am.

Three men from Kent have been arrested, questioned and bailed in connection with the smash and grab raids.

Police have been liaising with local shops and newsagents and helping shopkeepers to take additional crime prevention measures.

Inspector James Scott, of the Rother Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “These offences do not happen very often.

“We would encourage members of the local community to report any suspicious activities, any time night or day, to assist us with this investigation.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101, quoting Operation Lighter.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.