Fears of organised gang

Elli Sundstrom of Zeebras Restaurant and Cafe at Casino picking up the pieces of her cash register after thieves broke into the business.
Elli Sundstrom of Zeebras Restaurant and Cafe at Casino picking up the pieces of her cash register after thieves broke into the business. Scott Harlum

CASINO business owners fear an organised gang is responsible for a spate of break-ins in the town's business district over recent weeks and have ramped up their security to combat the problem.

At least four businesses in the town have been broken into since mid-July including Zeebras Restaurant and Cafe and Creative Artworx, both located on Barker St.

Thieves made off with cash and some alcohol from the cafe and cash from Creative Artworx.

"It would have cost us about $1000, and I definitely think it is an organised group and they are on a rampage," Zeebras manager Elli Sundstrom said.

"I think it is the same people that have done it to all the businesses because they have occurred over a short period of time. I don't think they are random."

Auto-parts retailer Repco, which is also located on Barker St, was one of the hardest hit.

That business was broken into twice, on consecutive nights, in late July.

Manager Joel McLennan also believes an organised group is behind the spree.

"I reckon it is some organised thing because they seem to know what they are doing and they are not targeting stuff which is traceable," he said.

Casino Chamber of Commerce president Michael Greentree has upgraded security at his own business and has urged other business owners to do the same.

"They do seem to be organised and are targeting business with probably less security than others," he said.

"Upgrade your security, remove all cash from your premises, secure those items you value and are easy to remove from shelves and ensure your business is locked securely before leaving."

Richmond Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Bill McKenna said police would continue to work with business owners to solve the crimes and would use latest technology including fingerprint and DNA evidence.

He also said additional staff have been deployed in the area.

Anyone with information can contact Casino police.

Topics:  business owners casinos gangs lismore

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