Macksville shop owners are being targeted by thieves

Valley Emporium owner Paula Davis is frustrated after thieves broke into her premises on Tuesday evening.
Valley Emporium owner Paula Davis is frustrated after thieves broke into her premises on Tuesday evening.

Five Macksville businesses have been targeted by thieves in the most recent spate of break-and-enters to occur in the usually quiet country town.

Valley Emporium, Remnant Basket, Poppy’s Garden, D&B Autos, and the Macksville Uniting Church have been named by police as the latest victims of Tuesday’s crime spree.

But it was only a few days before, that Rose’s Cafe and Elwood Upholstery Camping and Gas store were hit.

And a couple of weeks ago it was Nambucca River Antiques that copped it.

In fact, in the past eight months there have been multiple clusters of break-ins and petty vandalism committed on Macksville businesses and residents.

Victims have been too fearful of retribution and repeat attacks to speak out about it – until now.

“It’s just so frustrating,” Valley Emporium owner Paula Davis said.

“Something needs to be done about it.”

The offenders appear to be getting more savvy with gloves being used. The hammer used in the latest offences was taken from the Remnant Basket store.

The offenders appear to be getting more savvy with gloves being used. The hammer used in the latest offences was taken from the Remnant Basket store.

Thieves used a hammer (pinched from Remnant Basket) and screwdriver to enter the Emporium and a number of Bob Marley-emblazoned clothing items were taken from the backroom stock.

Paula has already approached the Business Advisory Committee about installing CCTV on major streets in the town centre like Kempsey has done, but says that the suggestion was dismissed.

Paula is currently beefing up security around her shop and is looking into motion-detecting sensored cameras to try to combat the problem.

And many other retailers are doing the same.

Roxy and Chris outside their new River St store, where thieves attempted a break-in on Tuesday night.

Roxy and Chris outside their new River St store, where thieves attempted a break-in on Tuesday night.

Poppy’s Garden owner Chris Dezeeuw said he had already been thinking about putting security cameras in based on what he’s seen and heard from other shop owners around town. 

Thankfully the thieves were not able to enter his premises despite an obvious attempt.

“But we haven’t got much to steal anyway,” he said.

He thinks the Valley needs to do more to create community initiatives.

“I don’t think there’s enough to do around here, and the beach at Nambucca Heads is inaccessible unless you have a car,” he said.

Macksville police are also becoming incredibly frustrated at the recurrence of these types of crime.

“I fear the community believes we’re doing nothing about it,” Sergeant Belinda Dalziel said.

It’s not like people aren’t getting arrested for these crimes. We’ve made arrests and have put people before the courts. But from then on it’s up to the courts to decide.

“Police continue to investigate these matters and we’ll decide how to proceed after the fingerprint analysis comes back.”

Quite a few of the shopkeepers are resigned to their fate – stating that they were expecting to be targeted soon.

“It guess it was my turn next – everyone else has been broken into,” one retailer said.

And Mr Woods said he’s not too worried after three break-ins in the past two months because they seem to just look for petty cash.

“They don’t really damage anything. I used to leave stuff out on the back steps, but I’ve learnt my lesson now,” he said.

The camping store owner has been at the same premises since 1970 and said while his store has been robbed before, it has been a rare occurrence.

While most of the swag to this date has been petty items, locals are still having to wear the cost of insurance excesses – which can be debilitating for many who are only just scraping by.

"I think it’s going to get to the point where people might have to sit on the corners of a night to guard the town,” Paula said.