5 March 2022

'Is Canberra really worth it?' Phillip e-bike shop owner ponders future in Canberra after continued burglaries

| Max O'Driscoll
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Jo Clay and Jack Southall

Canberra Electric Bikes owner Jack Southall, pictured with Jo Clay, is frustrated with the continued burglaries of bike shops and e-scooter retailers in the ACT. Photo: Jo Clay Facebook.

After a string of burglaries targeting e-scooter and bike retailers across the Territory, ACT Policing has reported an arrest, but it might be too little too late for Jack Southall, the owner of Canberra Electric Bikes in Phillip and Cookies Cycles in Franklin, who is pondering the future of his stores in Canberra.

According to police, at approximately 2:30 am this morning (4 March), a 34-year-old Kambah man was charged after police found him allegedly riding a stolen e-scooter.

He has been charged with three counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft, two counts of driving a motor vehicle without consent, taking a motor vehicle without consent, possessing stolen property, breaching parole and other driving offences.

ACT Policing revealed on Monday (28 February) that there had been eight burglaries of Canberra bike and e-scooter retailers since 31 January. On Wednesday (2 March), Region Media were advised by the owner of Fyshwick retailer ION DNA that they had been the victim of a further two burglaries.

Mr Southall owns eight bike shops, including Canberra Electric Bikes and Cookies Cycles.

“We have six shops in Sydney and two in Canberra, and we’ve never been broken into in a shop in Sydney. The shop we’ve got up in Franklin, which is a collaboration between me and David Cook, that’s the third time he’s been robbed and we’ve only been at that location for two months,” Mr Southall said.

“Getting robbed that many times, it makes you think, ‘is Canberra really worth it?'”

READ MORE E-scooter and e-bike retailers targeted by thieves across the ACT

Canberra Electric Bikes lost approximately $40,000 worth of stock in one event. Mr Southall revealed he’s living in constant fear of it happening again.

“We have a lot of glass in our shop, so the next thing is probably going to be a brick through the window,” he said.

“At this point, I just don’t believe it’s going to stop until they’re busted.

“I’ve got my own cameras set up so that if anyone comes near the window, I get a text, but unfortunately, it means I’ve got to be up and alert in the middle of the night.”

He says the back-to-base security system they were using is a “waste of time now”.

“Once they’re in, they grab what they need and unless you have a back to base that can be there in five minutes, which is not going to happen, you’d have to have a patrol car and know as soon as they turn up,” Mr Southall said.

“In the video, they spent a good four to five minutes trying to get in, which is plenty of time for us to know someone was there.”

In the 24 hours following the burglary, ACT Policing reached out through a number of channels, but Mr Southall said it “seemed to move from one person to another”, and it was unclear to him who was managing the investigation. Eventually, two plainclothes detectives arrived at the store and watched CCTV footage.

READ MORE Underwhelming police response times a symptom of officer shortage says AFPA

President of the Australian Federal Police Association Alex Caruana said the lack of resources is taking a toll on ACT Police officers, particularly after the further stretching of resources caused by the recent anti-vaccine mandate protests.

“Our investigators and response teams must prioritise their duties according to the urgency and seriousness of crimes and threats,” Mr Caruana said.

“A commitment from the ACT Government and members of the Legislative Assembly to provide ACT Policing with extra resources would go a long way in ensuring that these types of crimes are prevented in the future.”

Police are still looking for the others involved in these incidents and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information that can assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote 7043995. Information can be provided anonymously.

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Just to clarify, Cookies Cycles is owned by David Cook and his family, Canberra Electric Bikes Franklin is a collaboration between Jake and David.
We have been trading for 7 Years and have had Two breakins in that time,

If they are caught. The judge will give them a slap on the wrist. The judicial, the law, the government is pathetic. The police are frustrated. I don’t blame them. For criminals Canberra is heaven.

Capital Retro8:20 am 07 Mar 22

Jo Clay seems to find it amusing.

The image was taken from a different interview, she is not smiling about the break ins

Capital Retro12:12 pm 07 Mar 22

The caption doesn’t say that.

We were robbed years ago and we later saw the thieves with our property. Canberra is not a big place. We reported it to the police who did nothing. Unfortunately the socialist ACT government thinks ‘political correctness’ (people being perpetually offended) is more important to focus on, than actually prioritising crimes like property, assault and violent offences.

I just watched the video and it looks like the thieves entered by picking the lock. They also look well organised.

Perhaps the ACT police are relying on a battalion of Jessica Fletchers to solve their crimes

Alex Smorhun4:41 pm 05 Mar 22

That’s ridiculous – not happy with 1 bike each but taking 10 in a most brazen way. Anyway, it seems the laws are no deterrent and if fact they don’t seem to care and therefore it will keep on happening.

Why does my shop get broken into so many times? Well son it’s like this, you have small, relatively valuable and attractive items, the scumbag thieves are in and out and gone before a response arrives and you are a soft target. Whatever security you have it’s s not working.

Capital Retro8:24 am 07 Mar 22

I wonder if the shop owner had the locks changed when he took over the shop.

Not supprising when you under resource the police force, decrimalise drugs, no longer attend burglaries, allow the proliferation of OLMGs and have inadequate sentencing when applying the law.
Who would have guessed?

ChrisinTurner1:43 pm 05 Mar 22

Instead of lifting us up from the lowest number of police per capita in the nation, we waste $billions on replacing electric buses with slower electric trams. Are we just stupid?

While I support the employment of additional police and the building of new police stations…. the use of per capita statistics are a not useful metric when comparing the ACT to other States given the geographical differences.

The majority of of us are that stupid, hence our pathetic green/red council that keeps providing us with woeful healthcare, transport, education, courts and policing. As a bonus we also pay ridiculously high rates and land tax for this pathetic level of service.

Crime is a symptom – always better to treat causes rather than symptoms. The corrupt self serving elites at the top of our neoliberal capitalist society and the laws they have paid for are the real problem. Until this is addressed, small businesses such as this will suffer the collateral damage.

Canberra is worth it but we all need to work together to stamp this out. B2B alarm systems are fine but as stated in the article it’s only activated once they’re in. CCTV is only a reactive solution after they’re gone.

CCTV monitoring is an active solution that triggers when suspects are seen loitering and a patrol car is dispatched immediately. We’ve stopped quite a few robberies with this service. Something to think about. We’re always looking to see how we can reduce this sort of crime on our capital city!

https://www.blitzsecurity.com.au/cctv-monitoring

Try chaining all of the bikes up so they are not so easy to handle. Also have an earsplitting siren going.

There might be a gap in the security industry for some watch dogs, a trained German Shepherd would probably deter these lowlifes, as the police certainly won’t.

Scott Anthony6:28 pm 04 Mar 22

‘Breeching Parole”…. so if this scumbag had been denied parole and was still in custody, the community would be much safer without him stealing and driving stolen property…? Why is the Canberra legal system so impotent..?

Back in the 90’s when I was working in several Braddon bike shops, It was common knowledge,and was reported in the CT about the inner north especially,has the highest rates of bike theft in Australia. The same thing was reported last year and nothing has been done and now it’s an epidemic. Public housing complexes is where most end up , poorly disguised or pulled apart and left laying around stairwells or carparks. Many of the people responsible can be seen on many different bikes over a week or two as well. I’ve also seen many occasions where police could recover stolen bikes but are pre occupied with the reasons for their call out, and don’t show any suspicion. Canberra will never change for the better with a socialist government in power that has little regard for the common good.

Finagen_Freeman6:10 pm 04 Mar 22

Watching the video shows 4 or more people pouring in like parasites to steal.
Not welcome in the community. Not sure locking up is enough.

Back in the 90’s when I was working in several Braddon bike shops, It was common knowledge,and was reported in the CT about the inner north especially,has the highest rates of bike theft in Australia. The same thing was reported last year and nothing has been done and now it’s an epidemic. Public housing complexes is where most end up , poorly disguised or pulled apart and left laying around stairwells or carparks. Many of the people responsible can be seen on many different bikes over a week or two as well. I’ve also seen many occasions where police could recover stolen bikes but are pre occupied with the reasons for their call out, and don’t show any suspicion. Canberra will never change for the better with a socialist government in power that has little regard for the common good.

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