Sawtell Newsagency owners Sharon and Bryan Shadbolt survey the broken back door where entry was gained to the premises.
Sawtell Newsagency owners Sharon and Bryan Shadbolt survey the broken back door where entry was gained to the premises.

Coffs, Sawtell shop break-ins

THEY pounced in the dead of night, smashing up shops at Coffs Harbour and Sawtell in a desperate grab for cash.

The thieves even went to the trouble of hauling in heavy rocks to try and plunder a safe during the rampage.

Peter Bruce from Spirit Cruises was one of the proprietors counting the cost yesterday morning but he had little time to take it all in – he was on a whale-watching expedition when the Advocate popped in.

“It's not a nice feeling. You feel fairly violated,” Mr Bruce said by phone.

“It's disastrous.”

He'd arrived at work to find his back door busted open and the intruders had tried to smash open his storeroom safe with large rocks from the nearby breakwall.

When they were foiled they grabbed cash from the register, leaving behind an estimated $4000 damage bill. But Mr Bruce is certain they would have been captured on his security cameras.

They then kicked their way into the Harbourside Chandlery next door, triggering an alarm connected to the home of the owner, Andrew Shaw, at 12.50am.

He was at the marina in 10 minutes flat but was initially reluctant to enter the store in case the robbers were still there.

“They pulled out the drawers looking for money and took a small amount of cash,” Mr Shaw said.

“It is annoying but it's a sign of the times and to be honest, there's worse things happening in our community to worry about.

“It's a sad indictment on our society. I feel sorry for them in a sense to do this at night.

“They must have been desperate.”

Around the corner at The Galley, staff discovered their door had been jemmied and the place ransacked but the culprits couldn't find any cash.

About two hours earlier the Sawtell Newsagency was another target.

Security guards phoned Sharon Shadbolt to tell her the alarm at her shop had gone off and they called back later to say everything seemed okay.

“That's happened before when there's been an electrical problem but our driver came in this morning to wrap the newspapers and found the back door lying on the floor,” Mrs Shadbolt said.

The offenders rummaged through the office but fled empty-handed.

“I'm glad they didn't get anything,” Mrs Shadbolt said.

“We've been here five years and we've had one other incident – they smashed a hole in the wall but our filing cabinet was in front and they gave up.

The driver disturbed them.

“We do need police in Sawtell. There's too much going on out here for them to be that far away (in Coffs Harbour).”

ELSEWHERE in Coffs Harbour, a Lawson Crescent transport firm was hit overnight on Monday. The offenders forced a front roller door but found nothing of value.

COFFS Harbour police need your help to find these louts. Contact the investigators on 6652 0299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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