Pandanus Cafe proprietor Mandy Blair
Pandanus Cafe proprietor Mandy Blair

Caba's crazy crime spree

A SPATE of robberies has left small business owners in Cabarita counting the cost. The Daily News understands Several local businesses have been the victim of robberies, with one forced to close and another targeted up to five times in the past 12 months. Pandanus Cafe and The Beach bottle shop were the latest victims in a scourge of robberies sweeping the small seaside village, with thieves forcing their way in early on Monday morning. Pandanus Cafe owner Mandy Blair said thieves broke into her Pandanus Parade business by smashing a glass door before making off with cash and alcohol. It is the second time the cafe has been targeted in 12 months. "It's not a nice thing to have to come into work to," Ms Blair said. "I suppose we think we live in%paradise and these things will never happen to us, but we'll soldier on." Noddy's Bakery manager Aliesha Rawson said the business had become a "token target" for robbery, with the bakery hit five times in the past year. The most recent robbery came just two weeks ago, with thieves ransacking the Coast Road establishment and stealing cash after smashing their way in via a rear entrance. The latest robbery follows a%similar incident at the bakery about five weeks ago, in which thieves also escaped with cash. Ms Rawson said management was currently in the process of upgrading security to deter thieves. Meanwhile, one Cabarita business owner, who was reportedly uninsured, was left with little choice but to shut up shop after thieves cleaned out the Coast Road skate shop about four months ago. The Bowl, which had only recently opened, was one of three businesses targeted on the same night. Cabarita Computers owner Alan Dassin was among those affected, with thieves stealing several computer monitors and games during the night-time crime spree. Mr Dassin said an alarm system had almost certainly saved his Hastings Road business from a similar fate to that of the skate shop. He said the wave of robberies was a sting in the tail to local businesses, already hit with high insurance and security costs. "Cabarita has really been hit hard by break-ins in the past year. "In the end it's just another expense small businesses have to wear," Mr Dassin said yesterday. The robberies follow a tough few years for%Cabarita business owners, who suffered a marked downturn in trade following the%closure of the former Cabarita Beach Hotel. Cabarita Beach Business Association president Chris Gregory was yesterday uncertain if break-ins targeting local businesses were on the rise, but suggested more focus needed to be given to youth-oriented recreation in the area. Mr Gregory said street lighting in the town's business centre remained limited and was a factor in hiding criminal activities.



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