Smashed glass at Pie & Pastry Paradise.
Smashed glass at Pie & Pastry Paradise.

Bay shop owner counts cost of yet another break-in

A PIALBA business owner says rampant crime targeting small businesses is a community issue that needs to be fixed as a matter of urgency.

Nic Berkhout spoke to the Chronicle after his Main St store, Pie & Pastry Paradise was broken into for the second time in less than two weeks.

The popular bakery was targeted again at the weekend.

“Both times the culprits broke into the bakery but were unable to take anything,” Mr Berkhout said.

The perpetrators smashed through the glass door on both occasions.

“We never keep anything in the bakery overnight, so there was nothing for them to steal, it was just another massive inconvenience,” Mr Berkhout said.

The Pialba bakery is not the only business targeted, with statistics revealing a huge increase in offences against shops.

According to crime statistics reflected on the My Police Queensland website, the number of shop stealing offences in Hervey Bay increased by a little over 10 per cent to 281 last year.

Unlawful shop entry offences increased from 15 in 2018 to a whopping 48 in 2019.

Despite nothing being stolen, Mr Berkhout said every crime against a small business cost something in the long run.

“There is the time lost, we have to head to the store in the middle of the night when these things happen, and we have to clean up and repair damaged property,” he said.

Mr Berkhout said insurance premiums also went up after every claim, which placed further strain on the bottom line.

“There is not much more we can do to improve security,” he said.

The store already has CCTV and an alarm system.

“The culprits appear to have been scared off when the alarm sounded,” he said.

The businessman said he did not know what the answer to the spate of crime targeting smaller companies in the Bay was, but stressed the community needed to work together before things got out of control.