TALL TALE: Edna Gorton with the plants picked up from the wrong house.
TALL TALE: Edna Gorton with the plants picked up from the wrong house. Contributed

Whoops! Aussie op shop 'robs' wrong house

YOU'D be forgiven if you thought the story of the volunteers from Murwillumbah's Tweed Palliative Support op shop mistakenly "robbing" a house was the plot of a slapstick comedy.

But it's not.

Last week, TPS op shop volunteers were instructed by the owner of an inherited Ocean Shores estate to remove all household goods and furniture from their property to sell in the shop.

Op shop manager Edna Gorton told the Tweed Daily News the crazy story of mistaken identity began after the volunteers collected the key from the owner of the house.

"The key opened the front door but it wouldn't open the screen door," Ms Gorton said.

"(Our volunteers) saw all this beautiful furniture but nothing was packed.

"They tried calling the owner but he wasn't answering the phone. So they took everything that was outside, including a broom, a rake and all the plants and brought it back to the shop."

The items were quickly sold off to customers, which is common when new goods come in.

TPS president Meredith Dennis said when the pick-up crew returned the keys to the owner they quickly realised they'd been at the wrong house.

"The address they'd been given in writing was illegible," Ms Dennis said.

"When they went back to return the key and talked about the house they realised it was the wrong house. They sent me a text saying: 'Meredith we've robbed the wrong house.'

"When it first happened we were so horrified and in absolute panic mode."

That panic quickly dissipated when the volunteers returned to the scene of the crime to explain to the real owner of the home they'd "robbed" what had transpired.

"The owner was in her 70s," Ms Gorton said, explaining she'd called police after returning home to find her garden looted.

"She was quite upset about an orchid (we'd taken) that she had brought up from Sydney 30 years ago.

"Then there was a big panic, who did we sell all (her things) to."

But considering Ms Gorton has been with the op shop for many years, she knows almost all of her customers.

"We got everything back," she said.

"The people who we sold it to were very good.

"We gave the money back and some even donated it back to us.

"Thank goodness one lady bought all the plants and she left one big one there to pick up the next day, so we could tell her what happened. It was just wonderful how people came back.

"Thank God we couldn't get in the house, otherwise we'd have taken everything.

"It was serious but it was really funny."

After returning all of the goods - bar one figurine that is yet to be recovered - TPS gifted the home owner some wine and replaced the trolley they'd used to move the plants from the garden.

"The moral to the story is triple-check addresses and don't do pick-ups when nobody is home," Ms Dennis said.

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