Swept up in a crime wave
A CRIME spree in Ballina has left shop-keepers living in fear and wondering which business will be hit next.
Donna and Wayne Faulkner were working in their bakery in River St at about 3.20am one night in July when they heard an alarm in a neighbouring clothing store.
When Mr Faulkner went to investigate he discovered a man trapped in the shop trying to get out through its padlocked front door.
The man had entered the shop through the roof and his accomplice could be heard running around on the roof.
Mr Faulkner came face to face with the robber, before running back into the bakery.
His wife immediately called the police.
The Faulkners and three employees, by now terrified, locked themselves in their shop and waited for the police to arrive.
They heard the man smash his way out of the shop through a plate glass window, getting away before the police arrived.
Since then, Mrs Faulkner said there had been many more break-ins in Ballina and retailers suspected they were all being perpetrated by the one team of crooks.
The Faulkners now lock themselves in the bakery while they work overnight.
They wonder how long it will be before they are targeted.
Richmond Local Area Command crime manager, Detective Acting Inspector Paul Fredericks, confirmed there had been a spike in break-ins in the commercial precinct over the past four weeks.
He characterised the break-ins as opportunistic and said they mostly involved the theft of cash. Police have formed a taskforce with detectives from Ballina and the Richmond Target Action Group.
Det A/Insp Fredericks said the investigation was progressing and part of the police response had included increased patrols at night.
Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Description of the man Mr Faulkner saw
- Aged in his late 20s
- Of Aboriginal appearance
- Had a moustache and goatee beard
- Medium build
- 180cm tall
- Wearing a dark-coloured hoodie