Business owners had enough

By ANN-MARIE MAY

FED up doesn't begin to describe the way Coffs Coast businesses are feeling about the latest spate of break-ins.

Many are now saying that it is no longer a question of if, but who's next and when.

The past six months has seen a large number of break-ins with some businesses being targeted up to 10 times.

One business owner, who declined to be named for fear of being targeted again, said his store had been hit by thieves four times in the past six months and that he holds his breath every time the phone rings after 10pm.

"Sometimes I think it would be better if I unplugged the phone at night, so I wouldn't have to be woken up by either the police or security company, telling me the shop has been broken into again," he said.

Like many of the Coffs Coast business community, he has felt a number of emotions, from anger, frustration, sadness to what he is today ? tired.

"I have had a gutful. I, like a lot of other people, am just sick of it," he said.

But the anger is still very much there.

"Just the thought of what these lowlifes are doing makes me furious. The damage that they are causing is huge. We all work hard for what we've got, and to have someone take pieces of it away is not right," he said.

One manager of a business in the Orlando Street industrial area, said it had been broken into nine times since Easter.

"They have broken into the soft drink machine so many times that the company has taken it away," he said.

The business was last hit a week ago, where thousands of dollars worth of damage was done, with doors and computer screens being smashed.

Another cost is the extra security that has to be installed and there is talk of installing video cameras.

Other extra precautions taken include staff members driving by the business when out and about at night.

Manager of Cetnaj Lighting, Mr Chris Ryan, is also considering installing video surveillance after the store had a substantial amount of cash and cheques stolen in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.

This is the second full break-in the store has had this year, with the window being broken 10 times.

'Great Ocean Coffs Harbour', located in Edgar Street at the Jetty, has suffered from two break-ins in as many weeks.

The first time a little bit of cash was taken, and the second, which took place last Thursday, damage was done to the entrance way.

The good news this time was that a good description of the perpetrator was able to be gained from the in-house video surveillance.

Manager, Chris McKinnon, said the surveillance camera, which is on 24 hours a day, helps him sleep soundly at night.



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