Teens running rampant
STAFF at Hinkler Central Shopping Centre have called for improved security after a teenage worker was punched in the face by a 15-year-old boy.
The frightening attack on Thursday night has left workers at the shopping centre rattled and feeling unsafe as they perform their duties.
Nathan Detlefsen,18, was working in a shop at the centre when he asked the unruly 15-year-old to leave.
He said he was aware the boy had been asked to leave earlier that evening.
But when Mr Detlefsen was on the phone to his shop's management, the boy lunged at him.
“He swung his fist back and it hit me on the jaw,” he said.
Mr Detlefsen said he asked the boy if he was drunk, before the boy and the other teens he was with ran away.
He said about 15 minutes later, the boy returned and began hurling abuse at him and other staff.
Mr Detlefsen said a security guard grabbed the boy and restrained him, but the boy still struggled.
“I would not be here today if it wasn't for the security guard – I'd be in the hospital,” he said.
Mr Detlefsen said he no longer felt safe at work while the young teens were still allowed to shop at the centre.
“I don't think centre management are doing enough to protect the workers there,” he said.
John Kitching, who works at the centre and asked not to have his employer identified, said he was becoming increasingly worried about unruly youths at the centre.
“They are running rampant,” he said.
“All the centre says to us is if we have a problem to call security.”
Mr Kitching said he and other staff were often afraid to walk to their cars on their own.
Hinkler Central Shopping Centre spokeswoman Elysia Billingham said centre management met with Bundaberg police yesterday to discuss security issues.
“We are actually redeveloping our youth protocol,” she said.
“We will be meeting with Mirvac managers on Tuesday to discuss the changes.”
Ms Billingham said the centre was looking into whether the boy had been previously banned from the centre.
The centre's current youth protocol calls for all unaccompanied minors to produce identification when asked or risk being asked to leave.
Ms Billingham said they supported the security guard's actions during the incident.
“He was there to protect our staff and shoppers and he did that,” she said.
The boy who assaulted Mr Detlefsen pleaded guilty to five charges in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday.
He was sentenced to five months probation and given a community service order.