Mower man cut up after Ballina shop broken into
By MARY MANN
EMPTY shelves lined the walls of John's Bikes and Mowers when owner John McDermott got to work on Monday morning.
Thieves had broken into the Ballina shop at the weekend and stolen about $20,000 worth of chainsaws, generators and hedge trimmers.
"It's a horrible, eerie feeling knowing someone has been through here and taken stuff," Mr McDermott said.
Criminals also broke into eight businesses in Alstonville on Monday night. The premises were ransacked and a small amount of cash was stolen from some of them.
Three Ballina homes were also targeted on Sunday night and Monday morning. The thieves stole cash, handbags and wallets.
The crime spree comes after burglars broke into at least five Ballina homes about a fortnight ago, and three CBD businesses last week.
Police continue to call for people to upgrade their security measures.
Mr McDermott said yesterday he was offering a reward for information which could lead police to catch the thieves who stole from his business.
"We were in here for a quarter of an hour Monday morning before we realised the shelves were empty," Mr McDermott said.
"They broke in through the back wall and took 17 pieces of machinery. It looks like a professional job. They knew what they were doing and only took brand name items."
As if that was not bad enough, one of the mechanics at John's Bikes and Mowers had his family home broken into on Monday night.
Steve Francis said someone had broken into his 14-year-old stepson's bedroom about 12.30am and stolen two mobile phones, his son's wallet and a tin that looked like a money box.
He is now looking to upgrade the security at his home, including installing deadlocks.
"He [his stepson] only left his bedroom for 15 minutes and the TV and light were still on," Mr Francis said.
"It's pretty scary they would break in while we were just in the other room."
Crime prevention officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan implored people to upgrade security measures."If a business has good security measures it makes it tougher for the thieves and forces offenders to look for a softer target," he said.