Registered sex offender escorted from kids venue
ALARMED members of the public were quick to alert staff at TimeZone Caneland after they claim they saw a convicted child sex offender walking into the amusement arcade.
Staff had already acted swiftly when they believed the man, Marcel Schauer, 44, was on the premises on Sunday, calling security and police immediately to have him removed.
Store manager Mitchell Winters praised their quick response and, responding to a comment on Facebook, said specialised training, which police would attend, had been organised for staff.
Mr Winters said the training - to review and update future policies and ensure staff are aware of people not allowed into the store - was a proactive approach to keeping the area safe for their customers in future.
Schauer, was convicted in 2009 for attempting to rape a 13-year-old boy in bushes in Andergrove.
In that case, Mackay District Court was told Schauer suffered substantial head trauma at age 10 when he was knocked off a bicycle by a car, and that he suffered organic brain damage.
He has since pleaded guilty, on various occasions, to breaching reporting conditions put in place to protect children, including contravening offender prohibition orders and failing to comply with reporting conditions.
There are several places that Schauer is not allowed to venture into as a result of his conviction, and TimeZone in Mackay is one of them.
About 11am on Sunday shoppers reported him tying up his bike and entering Caneland Central from the restaurant precinct, and walking into TimeZone.
The people who first noticed him were concerned and went immediately to notify staff and show them his photo. Staff already were aware and had called security and police immediately as a result.
One of the witnesses, Kristina Pennell, said Schauer was then escorted out by security, and was aggressively "telling them off".
"My mother and I were at the Coffee Club and my mother knows him because she is the lollipop lady at Glenella primary school and has had to testify against him before in court for hanging around the school there," she said.
" ...we both saw him and realised he was walking into Time Zone. I went in to speak to the young girl at the counter and there was another man that had gone in as well to let them know.
"She (the staff member) said they noticed straight away that he was there and called security, they showed him out and then we just saw him yelling at them (security) and he zipped off on his bike.
"Not long after a lady police officer showed up."
As a mother to three young boys, Ms Pennell said she was deeply concerned.
She said more needed to be done to keep offenders away from children, without the public needing to intervene.
"He's been banned from Mt Pleasant, why not Caneland too? Why not all places where children are present? Why aren't there photos of his face up in these places so that at least parents and staff everywhere are aware?"
Following the incident Ms Pennell took to Facebook to warn other parents in the region and TimeZone management replied.
"He is not allowed in our store, police and security were notified as soon as we noticed, as with any private property we have a right to deny entry to any person so long as we do not breach anti-discrimation laws," Mr Winters wrote.
"As a staff member of TimeZone I just want to let you know that we called security and police as soon as we noticed Marcel in store, as we have a list of people not allowed on our premise and he is on that list.
"We also have a relationship with the Mackay officer in charge of child protection and will always do our best to be vigilant and ensure that our store is a safe place for everybody, adult and child alike.
"Although we still appreciate the proactive approach that our customers take in safeguarding our store, especially when they do the right thing by notifying those able to correctly handle the situation."
Mr Winters said staff were aware they must call police immediately if seeing anyone on their banned list in store.
"We have a comprehensive list of people not allowed in store in correspondence with local police, schools, security and staff in store and in the Caneland Centre," he said.
"The person in question is on that list with a note to call police if sighted.
"Staff are trained to do their best to be vigilant and monitor patrons in store to ensure that everybody is in a safe environment. Police will be attending TZ (TimeZone) for another staff training session in about two weeks, future policies will be reviewed and updated regarding all customers currently not allowed in store, it will all be sorted then."
A Police Media spokesman said police were made aware of an incident at Caneland Central at the weekend but were not able to comment on whether a person was a registered sex offender.
"Police will act upon and investigate all information received and members of the public are encouraged to make contact with their local police or Policelink should they have any concerns about a person's behaviour," the spokesman said.