When thieves ram-raided Peter and Vicki Neou’s store two weeks ago, all that was stolen was six bottles of vodka but it was damage to their storefront that hurt their back pockets the most.
The three thieves caused about $70,000 of damage to the Ngunnawal IGA but left with just bottles of cheap vodka, dropping two on their way out. Part of the roof was destroyed, the registers were severely damaged and the store still does not have a front door.
It was an act of vandalism that took just a few minutes but had lasting effects for the owners.
“They dropped a bottle of vodka in the store and one out the front which the cops confiscated for evidence,” Mr Neou said. “One of them even dropped a ski glove.
“They tried to get into the smokes but they couldn’t get in because it is such a heavy duty container. They were in the store for maybe a minute so they just got in and out. They could have done a lot more damage.
“It’s all this destruction for not much really.”
Just half an hour after the thieves left the scene, police received reports of a ram-raid at the Charnwood Newsagency. A dark coloured Toyota RAV4, which was used in both incidents, was later found burnt out in Spence.
The incident is just a few in a spate of ram-raids across the city, with the latest occurring on a Mitchell business around 5:15 am on Sunday morning (7 July 2019).
Mull Up smoke store, on the corner of Kemble Court and Sandford Street, was rammed, possibly by a silver Toyota Prado, causing around $10,000 worth of damage while the thieves only stole $200 cash from the register.
Owner Chris Burn said he got a call from security and was at his store 10 minutes later but the thieves had fled the scene.
“I don’t understand the logic behind it, to be honest,” he said. “There were three people and I think one was standing guard near the car. It is hard to get a judge of what was stolen and what was broken but around $8,000 to $10,000 in damage but that’s not including the damage to the building as well.
“I think they were in the store for about four minutes. They tried to open the till [but couldn’t] so they just ripped it out and left with the till.”
Anyone with any information about the incidents is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Information can be provided anonymously.
The ram-raid incidents that have taken place since 23 March:
23 March – Six businesses across Lyneham, Mitchell and Fyshwick were allegedly rammed by a vehicle, believed to be a red hatchback. All six businesses sustained significant damage and some were burgled.
13 June – Around 3:38 am, police were called to attend the Repco store on Athllon Drive in Greenway, following reports of a ram-raid. Police allege three offenders used a dark coloured Toyota Hilux to force entry to the store. Around 4:10 am, two males allegedly used a small hatchback/SUV vehicle to force entry to Domino’s Pizza at Weston.
24 June – Around 3:30 am a vehicle, believed to be a Toyota RAV4, was used to damage the front entrance of the Ngunnawal IGA. Around 4 am, police also received reports of a ram-raid at the Charnwood Newsagency. Police believe a dark coloured Toyota RAV4 was used in both incidents, which was later found burnt out near Owen Dixon Drive in Spence.
25 June – Around 3:40 am, police were called to the Woolworths in Franklin where people had smashed through the front doors and stolen gift cards and cigarettes. Shortly after, police were alerted to a similar incident at Woolworths Hawker, where a car had rammed the supermarket but had failed to gain entry. Later, police were alerted to a ram-raid that had occurred overnight at The Cook Grocer.
7 July – Around 5:15 am, police believe a Mitchell shop was rammed by a vehicle, possibly a silver Toyota Prado. The front of the store sustained significant damage, and a cash register was stolen.