Coles ram raided amid panic buying chaos
As supermarkets grapple with the horrendous panic buying situation in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Coles has been faced with another blow.
Its store in Curtin, ACT, was ram raided in the early hours of this morning by two assailants who smashed in the front door and gained entry.
Social media erupted with rage as many claimed it was an act of desperate panic buyers.
But ACT Police have confirmed it was not COVID-19 related.
"At about 4.10am this morning a red Toyota sedan was driven into the front doors of a supermarket in Curtin (ACT)," a spokesperson told news.com.au.
"Two persons entered the store and left a short time later with no stolen property. They went straight to the cigarette counter but left empty-handed."
Police are now looking into the matter.
Australians are facing a huge grocery shortage in supermarkets at the moment, with shelves stripped completely bare of essential items as people stockpile products over fears the country is about to go into lockdown.
As a result, Twitter users have linked the smash and dash to desperate individuals trying to grab supplies for themselves and their families.
"So, instead of panic buying, people are now just ram raiding... we seriously need to wake up to ourselves," one wrote.
"Don't know if it's selfish, stupid or both. Does no one any favours," another said.
While one simply put: "Society has officially lost it."
Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA have all been faced with unprecedented circumstances in recent weeks and have been forced to introduce strict buying limits in a bid to get the situation under control.
Yesterday, Woolies announced a major shake-up to its buying restrictions list, introducing a blanket two limit rule on everything in-store unless stated otherwise.
"As the situation continues to evolve, we've made some further changes to the maximum number of products customers can buy, in addition to any other limits already in place," it reads.
"There is now a per customer, per shop limit of two items from any single category on most packaged products across Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores and online.
"This means customers will only be able to buy two products from any single included category, regardless of the brand or variety. There are some exceptions where no limits remain, such as fruit and vegetables, fresh milk and baby food."
Fresh fruit and vegetables have been placed into the new "no limit" category along with meat (excluding mince), deli, bakery, seafood, fresh milk, canned fish and drinks. Baby food also has no buying limits as well as cat and dog food and yoghurts. You can also buy unlimited amounts of Easter confectionery & merchandise.
One item limits remain on antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, paper towels, rice (2kg and above), serviettes and toilet paper.
Everything else falls under the two items per person rule.
Coles added another item to its growing restrictions yesterday, capping the sale of chilled milk at two units per shopper.
"This includes all sizes of white dairy milk, plant-based non-dairy & goats milk sold chilled in our dairy fridges," the statement, shared on Twitter, read. The restriction applies to Coles Brand and branded varieties.
The supermarket already had eggs, chilled pasta, frozen vegetables and frozen desserts, mince, pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues and hand sanitisers on its list - all of which are capped at two items per customer. Toilet paper remains limited to one pack per customer.
Aldi has restricted shopping hours and introduced buying restrictions as well as code of practice when entering stores as of yesterday.
Store trading hours are between 9.30am and 7pm, unless other state and local trading restrictions apply and shoppers are restricted in buying dry pasta, flour, dry rice (excludes microwave rice), paper towels and hand sanitiser - all of which are now limited to two packs per customer.
Previously, Aldi had held off introducing grocery limits, only restricting shoppers to one pack of toilet rolls, a limit which is still in place.
Anyone who witnessed the incident are urged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 (or via www.crimestoppers.com,au) quoting reference number 6511108.