Totara Cafe was targeted by thieves twice in one week. Photo / Angela Woods
Retail crime has been rampant in Whangārei over the last week, with one cafe in Tikipunga burgled twice in four days.
There have also been at least two robberies – one aggravated – and two other burglaries.
Burglaries at the Totara Cafe on Wairau Dr, Tikipunga and Bottle-O Kamo on Three Mile Bush Rd on Monday night followed a car theft on Torrey Pines Rise around 11pm.
Two young people were arrested after these incidents. However, the Totara Cafe was burgled again around 9.45pm on Thursday. Police said inquiries into the latest burglary were ongoing.
The manager of the Totara Cafe, who did not want to be named, said it was the fourth burglary in less than a year.
“I think crime generally in Northland’s gotten really bad . . . they do need to get stricter on what the punishment is,” she said. “Nothing really gets done because they’re too young to go to prison.”
On Monday night, the offenders took a quantity of wine and beer, but, on the second occasion, the fridge had not been restocked so only a few soft drinks were taken.
“I feel really bad for my boss having to come in and deal with this,” the manager added.
Northland Chamber of Commerce president Tim Robinson said retail crime in Whangārei had been a problem for some time.
“My sense is it’s not getting any worse but the problem is the bar has been so low for so long. What we’re not seeing is an improvement.
“It’s almost like people are resigned to the fact that this happens, day in, day out … It’s just one of the many challenges of being a retailer at the moment.”
Robinson said some young people who had been caught for crimes some time ago had recently been seen around town again, and he heard of more burglaries shortly afterwards.
“The police had had a bit of a crackdown and a few of the dirty dozen, as we used to refer to them, had actually been sent away, but I do understand they’re starting to drift back now. Whether it’s those same ones, I don’t know.”
The GAS service station in Tikipunga was also robbed on Thursday morning, for the fourth time in five months. Two people were arrested in relation to the robbery.
An aggravated robbery at Arthur’s Emporium in Whangārei on Tuesday resulted in minor injuries to one person.
A police spokesperson said inquiries were under way into the robbery, which was reported to police around 1.30pm.
“It appears three people have taken items from the shop and have assaulted staff before fleeing in a vehicle.”
The Advocate understands a staff member was punched by one of the offenders as staff tried to stop them from stealing a trolley full of goods.
Another burglary at commercial premises in Kensington was reported around 4.30am on Wednesday.
A group of offenders stole several items before fleeing in a vehicle, police said. Inquiries are ongoing, including a review of CCTV footage, police said.
Police asked anyone with information on the Kensington burglary to contact them on 105 or fill in a report online at www.police.govt.nz/use-105, using Update My Report, referencing file number 230125/4514.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.