Perth backpackers’ secret plan to catch share-house food thief backfires


A group of backpackers living in the inner-city Perth suburb of Mount Lawley have made headlines after an elaborate plot to catch a food thief living amongst them spectacularly backfired. Residents at the property declined our requests for an interview, although a German female, who refused to be named, did respond to questions via email.

“For some time, one of our housemates has been stealing food from the refrigerator,” she wrote. “At first it was just small things, a slice of cheese, a stalk of celery. However, the thefts started to escalate to increasingly large amounts of food.” She went on to explain the final straw was when a whole roast chicken, a tub of pasta salad, a block of Emu Export and a birthday cake for a Swedish backpacker all went missing on the same day. “We were sorely disappointed that our food for the party was all taken, although frankly I was relieved the Export disappeared.” Having had enough of the mystery burglar, a small group of the 14 housemates living at the property convened a secret meeting to discuss their options.

“There was me, two Swedish girls and a guy from France who got together to put an end to this nonsense,” wrote the German backpacker. “We decided to lay a trap for whoever had been pinching our food.” She went on to explain how they’d purchased a chocolate mudcake from the local supermarket and loaded it up with a full pack of laxatives. “We even dusted some Metamucil as icing sugar on the top.” Sure enough, by the following morning the cake had vanished from the fridge, and the housemates who knew of the plot eagerly awaited the results.

“To our surprise and shock, the culprit turned out to be the French guy,” wrote the girl. “He had been out drinking all night with friends, and was so wasted he’d forgotten about the trap.” Despite having identified the thief, the other backpackers living at the house were not impressed with the methods used. “I guess in hindsight half a pack of laxatives would’ve done the job,” wrote the German girl.