Bonalbo newsagent George Vancsa is angry over recent shop robberies.
Bonalbo newsagent George Vancsa is angry over recent shop robberies. The Northern Star

Bonalbo shops looted as thieves strike again

THE small town of Bonalbo is reeling again after a series of break-ins.

On Saturday night, thieves hit the Bonalbo Newsagency for the second time in as many weeks and also broke into the local butcher shop.

Newsagent George Vancsa arrived at work yesterday to find the culprits had smashed their way into his shop by breaking the glass panel of the front door.

The break-in follows a similar smash-and-grab raid in the early hours of July 8, when the offenders escaped with more than $500 worth of cigarettes.

On that occasion, Mr Vancsa said two people were recorded on closed circuit television security tapes damaging glasswork and entering the shop.

The CCTV footage yesterday showed five people using the same method to steal a larger amount of cigarettes, scratch lottery tickets and packets of potato chips.

John Bowan's butcher shop was also targeted by the thieves, causing damage to the shop's cash register and breakages to glass.

They also stole $80 collected for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service.

Mr Vancsa said footage from his security system clearly showed at least one offender was involved in both break-ins.

“I've given police a clear video image and they have taken forensic evidence from the first robbery, but I don't know whether they've charged anyone yet,” Mr Vancsa said.

He and his wife, Lydia, who open their shop seven days a week as a service to the community, are frustrated the same offender can be seen on the video, yet nothing seems to have been done to stop him.

Mr Vancsa and Mr Bowan said they thought the thieves were becoming more brazen.

Both said they would enhance their security systems again, but felt helpless to protect their businesses.

Police say the break-ins are being investigated.

Mr Vancsa said his small business could not afford to absorb the impact of crime. “If this keeps happening I'll just close the shop,” he said.

Police are appealing for witnesses or any information about the break-ins. Call Casino police on 
6662 0099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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