Bank Heist Stuns Pious Island

Vault may have been secured by a single padlock
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2011 2:20 PM CDT
A popular Aitutaki beach is seen in this photo.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – The tiny Pacific island getaway of Aitutaki is looking for answers after someone broke into its tiny bank last week and made off with $200,000. The theft has blindsided the nation’s notoriously devout population of about 1,800, which had seen such a thing as unthinkable—the New Zealand Herald report implies that the bank was secured by just a single padlock, though police will not confirm that.

Aitutaki is nestled in the Cook Islands, and was one of the first places in the South Pacific to accept Christianity. It’s been devout ever since, with more than 20 churches spread across its less than 7 square miles. Residents are now praying it was a tourist or other outsider who did the deed, rather than one of them. “If it were a local, then we would be very concerned,” says one resident. “It will challenge our view of our teenagers today.”

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