The owner of the Melba IGA supermarket, which was left with significant damage from a ram raid in the early hours of Tuesday morning (27 April), said he and his wife felt helpless as they watched the alleged offenders escape following the incident.
Krish Brahmbhatt, who lives close to the local supermarket he has operated since December 2016, said he and his wife arrived at the shop shortly after 3:15 am on Tuesday to see three of the offenders leaving in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
“I immediately drove to the shop once we were alerted to the ram raid and saw three people. One of them was in a car outside and two were in the shop,” Mr Brahmbhatt told Region Media.
“I parked my car outside and beeped my horn and flashed my high beam lights.
“That panicked them, and I saw them running out of the shop, but I couldn’t really see them as they were all covered,” he said.
Mr Brahmbhatt also described having to reverse his car as the offenders drove off after only having stolen small items and cigarettes.
“For me and my wife, that was a shocking moment which makes it really hard to describe what they looked like because we were afraid that they were going to hit my car, so I had to reverse my car and give them enough room to drive off,” he said.
The police arrived within a couple of minutes and began investigating what an ACT Policing spokesperson described as a ram raid-style burglary.
“A stolen silver Ford Ranger bearing NSW registration plates CN5-42X was used in the incident where items including cigarettes have been taken.
“The vehicle was located burnt out in Evatt a short time later,” the police spokesperson said.
Since the ram raid, the popular local supermarket owners have been inundated with offers of support from the community.
“One of my regular customers who owns a cleaning business was one of the first to help me. The offers from the community since have been incredible,” he said.
Staff and friends are also doing their best to get the supermarket up and running again, but Mr Brahmbhatt said it would be late on Friday or early Saturday morning before they could open for business again.
“The damage is really bad. All my liquor cabinets and cash registers and lots of other items are broken, but people are working hard to help me out,” he said.
“Yesterday (28 April), I had all my regular customers come in and tell me not to worry and that they would help me get out of this. They have been offering to help clean the shop and do whatever needs doing.
“I can’t thank the community enough for the support they’ve shown me and my wife. It’s very bittersweet, but it’s that support that makes you feel like you will get through it all.”
He said it was the first time the shop had been ram raided and he would be writing to the ACT Government to request a bollard be installed at the front of the shop to prevent further attacks.
Anyone with information or footage of the vehicle around the time of the incident can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote reference 6784953. Information can be provided anonymously.