Pie Guru worker Chemene Bailey and Sol Hair Lounge owner Demika Simpson.
Pie Guru worker Chemene Bailey and Sol Hair Lounge owner Demika Simpson.

‘It’s crippling’: Two arrested as businesses hit by crime

TWO males have been arrested for an alleged crime spree in Yeppoon this morning.

Between 4am and 7am, eight Yeppoon businesses were allegedly broken into, many of which have been vandalised multiple times in the past few weeks.

Today’s alleged victims included Lure, Keppel Bay Sailing Club, Whisk, Pie Guru, Bubbles Laundromat, Sol Hair Lounge, Dominos Pizza, and Jacques’ Coastal Meats.

Acting Senior Sergeant Matthew Forbes.
Acting Senior Sergeant Matthew Forbes.

Acting Senior Sergeant Matthew Forbes alleged the offenders “systematically proceeded through the CBD, smashing a number of front doors and gaining entry to the local businesses targeting cash floats and cash registers”.

“They came up empty at a number of the breaks,” he alleged.

“It’s just a small number of cash floats – probably less than $600.”

The males, one 24 and one 15 years old, were arrested at a home in Norman Gardens today about 1.30pm.

They are alleged to have distracted police by starting a small fire on Dolphin Crescent, Taranganba just before the break-ins.

The blaze was extinguished by fire crews at 1.42am, and police then found a deodorant can at the point of ignition.

“We do believe that this was a linked event and used to distract the police and get them out of town,” Act Snr Sgt Forbes alleged.

“Yeppoon is an extremely safe town and something like this does affect the community as a whole.

“2020 has already been a really tough year on local businesses and it’s just really disappointing to see.”

No weapons were located at the crime scenes, and the perpetrators were caught on several businesses’ security cameras.

Police tape outside Pie Guru and Sol Hair Lounge in Yeppoon.
Police tape outside Pie Guru and Sol Hair Lounge in Yeppoon.

Chemene Bailey, who works at Pie Guru, alleged the store had its RACQ Helicopter Rescue donation tin stolen – “a pretty low act”, she said – and its pie warmer smashed.

Nevertheless, she said she would “soldier on”.

“Unfortunately we’ve had our pie warmer smashed as well which means we haven’t been able to trade at all today, and it could take potentially a couple of days for us to actually be able to replace that so we can get up and running,” Ms Bailey said.

“I got here at 10 to five and I came through the back door and I just saw the police officer standing at the front and the smashed glass obviously, and it was a little bit scary because I think I only got here an hour after they’d been through, so I’m glad that I didn’t encounter them when I got here.

“I was in a bit of shock really, but obviously this has happened in the town a few times now.”

Whisk head chef Amber Kinsey.
Whisk head chef Amber Kinsey.

Whisk head chef Amber Kinsey alleged it was the fourth time in the past four years that her store’s front door had been smashed.

“We lose a whole day of business basically because we can’t open up,” she said.

“It’s crippling, especially at this time of year too. We’re over it.

“It’s not fair – you’re trying to make a living.”

Lure owner Cindy Durbridge.
Lure owner Cindy Durbridge.

Lure’s front window was also smashed, for the third time in four weeks.

“Honestly I’m over it, I’m absolutely over it,” owner Cindy Durbridge said.

“I don't know what else to do: everything’s locked up; we don’t have any cash laying around. “Maybe I should put bars on my windows. I don’t want to have to do it because I think we live in a beautiful community.”

Ms Durbridge said the offenders did not take much from the corner cafe, which was bustling at midday, and that the damage done by not opening for the day would have been even worse.

“It’s just sad that a tiny amount of people just ruin it for the whole lot,” she said.

The arrested men have not yet been charged.



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