Shop assistants say certain youths at Stockland on Thursday nights are “troublemakers”.
Shop assistants say certain youths at Stockland on Thursday nights are “troublemakers”. Ben Goode

'Gang' of 20 stalk Stockland

IT’S 8.15pm on Thursday at a Rockhampton shopping centre that’s recently come under the spotlight for gang attacks.

We are greeted by a group of about 20 youths – what people have recently described as a gang – some as young as 13, loitering outside one of the entrances in a dark spot.

A police car is situated nearby and a security guard is on the lookout as we walk through the doors to Stockland Rockhampton.

After the recent gang attacks, including the bashing of a 15-year-old girl at the complex by about 20 teenagers, one of my colleagues and I decided to check out the Thursday night shopping scene.

Just over a week ago, The Morning Bulletin did a report on Stockland tenant Jack Kennedy, who expressed concern at the escalating teenage gang-related violence. The primary reason, Mr Kennedy said, was the introduction of late night trading.

Walking through a less lit-up section of the centre, groups of youths, including some teenage girls dressed in minute clothing, swarmed through.

The language coming out of their mouths was enough to turn us and, I’m sure, other shoppers away.

It was reassuring seeing security guards patrolling the centre during our 45-minute visit.

I witnessed a worker walking through with her head down as she passed one of the kids rudely yelling out obscene language.

As we walked further through the complex, kids were scattered throughout and most of them weren’t there to shop but to hang out.

There was concern from shop assistants at several stores, who described the youths as “troublemakers”.

A 21-year-old shop assistant said her mum wouldn’t let her walk to the car, after closing late at night, without her mobile phone on her, just in case she ran into trouble.

“It’s a bit scary walking to my car after a late night shift,” she said.

At another store, the guys working said they were earlier robbed by a young bloke who stole about six shirts and bolted.

“They don’t come here to shop,” one of the workers said.

He said police and security had arrived soon after the theft but the robber had managed to get away.

When we left the centre at 9pm, the youths quickly disappeared – at least until next Thursday night.

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