Sydney woman who found baked beans in her letterbox uncovers stomach-churning theory behind bizarre act

Photo of the baked beans in the woman's letterbox, inset stock image of baked beans
A chilling motive may be behind the bizarre act. Photo credit: File / Margaret Khursigara, supplied to 7News

A woman who was shocked to discover her letterbox overflowing with baked beans has unearthed a stomach-churning theory behind the seemingly random attack.

Margaret Khursigara, a 52-year-old living in a quiet cul-de-sac in the West Pennant Hills suburb of Sydney, told 7News she found her letterbox filled with baked beans when she went to check for mail on Saturday morning. 

Puzzled as to why her property had been targeted in such a bizarre act of vandalism, Khursigara said she turned to social media to see if she could find any information that might help to explain the peculiar behaviour. 

After doing some digging online, the 52-year-old was stunned to realise that the random attack might not be so random after all, and may be indicative of an alarming trend. 

Speaking to 7News, Khursigara said a neighbour of hers informed her of various reports that came out of the UK in 2021, which involved kidney beans being left outside of homes. After dumping the beans on the doorstep, the perpetrator would return hours later to see which households had cleaned up the mess.

According to those reports, the tactic was used by thieves to determine which houses were empty and therefore easier to burgle: if the beans hadn't disappeared, it would be a good indication that the inhabitants were not home at the time.

Photo of the baked beans in the woman's letterbox
The woman believes thieves may have been using the tactic to determine if people were away for Anzac Day or a four-day weekend. Photo credit: Margaret Khursigara / Supplied to 7News

Noting that many Australians would have taken the Monday before Anzac Day off to enjoy a four-day break, Khursigara believed it was likely a prospective thief had performed the tactic to see if anyone was home or not over the long weekend.

"We know a lot of people who have gone away for that four-day weekend, so it kind of makes sense for it to happen at this point in time," she told 7News. "If they're trying to see if someone is home, it's a technique that could work."

Khursigara said she didn't report the incident to the police, but noted the "silly" nature of the stunt may be what makes it successful, as people are unlikely to contact authorities over a "minor" act of letterbox vandalism. 

During her 20 years at the property, Khursigara told 7News she had never heard of a burglary in the area. The quiet West Pennant Hills community has been ranked as one of the top five safest postcodes in Sydney.

Despite this, the possible cause of the baked bean incident was enough for Khursigara to take additional security measures, including closely monitoring her home security cameras. 

To her knowledge, her home was the only property targeted on the cul-de-sac. 

NSW Police told the outlet it has not yet heard of any local burglaries involving a link to baked beans.