A Tennant Creek service station is offering a $1000 reward after being broken into for the third time this year.
The United Service Station and minimart on Paterson St estimated it lost more than $13,000 in damages, repairs and sales due to a series of break-ins on Friday night.
Managing director of the family business Kylie Smith said the first person arrived about 10pm, breaking the padlock on their roller door, smashing the window and climbing into the shop.
She said a police patrol came by half an hour later, but because the roller door had been lowered the officers missed signs that anything was wrong, leaving the store vulnerable to several other groups who looted it through the night.
“They’ve grabbed a couple of things, some mobile phones, some salty plums,” Ms Smith said.
“One man came and got a shopping bag, very leisurely, filled it up with drinks, bread, milk, meat – he was doing his grocery shopping.
“Another group of kids came and stole lollies.”
Ms Smith estimated the servo lost about $9000 in sales from being forced to stay closed on Saturday, $2500 worth of stock had been taken, and the window would cost $1600 to replace.
She was familiar with the cost of window repairs having paid the invoice for the last break-in fewer than two months ago.
“You get to the stage where it’s like, ‘is it worth it to keep working’, could just close the doors and see ya later,” Ms Smith said.
“It weighs on my mind, but I’ve got staff members I’ve got to look after.”
Ms Smith had been working at the service station for two decades, and said this was the worst year they had seen – never having had a break-in before or since 2017 when $20,000-worth of cigarettes were stolen.
“We pack up the cigarettes and put them in a safe at night now,” she said.
The store had also decided to install mesh security screens over the window.
A CCTV station across the road pointed directly at the store, but local member Steve Edgington said the town’s cameras were not being monitored effectively to reduce crime.
“We now have plenty of CCTV cameras in Tennant Creek so why are we continuing to see businesses on Paterson Street being broken into and bearing the brunt of property damage,” Mr Edgington wrote in a Facebook post.
“CCTV should be a tool to help prevent crime but this will only occur if they are monitored locally and resources are deployed to hotspots to deal with any suspicious behaviour.
“At present it seems that although there are more cameras, there is also more crime.
“It’s just not good enough – the people of the Barkly deserve better.”
With no charges laid so far over Friday’s incidents, the service station has offered $1000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Police minister Kate Worden has been contacted for comment.
Extracted in full from: https://www.ntnews.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-nt/barkly-deserves-better-tennant-creek-service-station-targeted-in-multiple-breakins/news-story/1931e2eb379a5fc879d714bd97bf048e