The victim of an attempted bag-snatch outside Belconnen Mall last Sunday (10 January) says her impression of Canberra as a peaceful city has changed forever after the incident.
The 28-year-old woman’s best friend, who only wanted to be identified as ‘Bonnie’, told Region Media of the harrowing incident that also saw a good samaritan chase the alleged thief and return the stolen bag to its rightful owner.
The woman’s bike was also damaged during the incident.
The victim of the attempted robbery was unhurt but is calling for harsher punishment for people who damage people’s property and attempt to steal their belongings.
“My friend felt very scared, afraid and unlucky when a teenager wearing a black mask covering his eyes and black clothes and trousers dared to come up to her during the daytime at about 7:45 pm before sunset with a lot of people around outside the Belconnen shopping centre.
“It’s really unbelievable and ridiculous,” Bonnie said.
“Canberra was always a very peaceful city; however, after that incident, my friend’s impression of this city has forever changed.”
The attempted robbery has been reported to the police.
“I just hope that people can provide information to the police if they witnessed the process of the crime and that the government can set up a stricter law to make a harsher punishment or charges for those people who deliberately destroy other people’s property,” Bonnie said.
The victim was getting her bike that was chained near platform one around Belconnen Mall when she realised her bike had been damaged. She then saw a group of teenagers nearby, when one of them wearing black clothes and a black mask approached her and took her bag from the basket on her bike.
The woman ran after the thief, shouting loudly for help. Two men chased the thief for about 300 metres past the Yat Bun Tong and Sushi Musa restaurants heading inside the Belconnen car parking area.
One of the men returned with the victim’s bag but the robber had disappeared.
Bonnie said the incident will make her friend a stronger and wiser person who will not underestimate others.
“She told me she will treat the incident as a positive first-time experience and will learn how to protect her possessions more carefully on the bike, even during the daytime with a lot of people around,” Bonnie said.
“She is telling herself not to be afraid of bad people appearing in her life as they will surely end up being punished one day.
“I sincerely hope the government can set up a harsher law and charges for criminal robbery and bike damage as these two crimes always happen in Canberra … meaning that the criminals are basically not being afraid of the law at all.
“The government and the police really have to work on that more seriously to make the law more influential.”
Anyone with information on the incident should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.