A THEFT was taking place while Regent Cinema Murwillumbah manager Deborah Flannery ordered dinner not long ago.
She was delayed on March 9 at about 8pm as she awaited her Japanese dish, which was taking longer than usual to prepare.
It was then the evil-doer or doers pounced - removing a red, retro, vinyl, three-seater, heavy wooden framed couch from the cinema's foyer.
"If I wasn't delayed by my okonomiyaki I might have caught them," Ms Flannery said.
"I don't know what I would have done if I had; I might have pelted it at them."
The couch was only bought from the Salvation Army in November and its whereabouts has created a mystery of, well, relaxed proportions around town.
Ms Flannery said the $35 second-hand lounge was "more sentimental than worth a lot".
"It's funny, with the sign out the front people are really on the search.
"I'm sure we'll find it. It was a favourite spot for everyone to meet.
"It was such a blatant theft and I did mention it to the police, but not officially.
"If anyone did see a red couch walking down the street, we'd like to know."
The Regent has set up a Facebook page dedicated to the mystery and is requesting photos of red couches as a type of "line-up".
Murwillumbah's resident Remy Sharps (the Youth Theatre Company's Lachlan Glasby) is reportedly "on the case".
Mr Sharps is a cryptozoologist, which means he studies animals which may or may not exist and his methods for unmasking the culprit may be as mysterious as the crime itself.
Seems it is only a matter of time until someone is caught red-faced.
Ms Flannery said the incident did have a serious aspect.
"We would like it back.
"It would be lovely if it was returned and there would be no questions asked - we might even give away a double pass
"But at the same time if the people who took it have photos of the couch in a nice spot, then they can send them in."
She said the three-seater had gathered some fame during its occupation of the cinema's foyer, which had led to the light-hearted outrage in response to its disappearance.
"We've never had something stolen like this before," Ms Flannery said.