Manager Zafar Aziz shows the damage where a thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Manager Zafar Aziz shows the damage where a thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens

Devastating smash and grab at popular Gladstone business

When Saleem Rehman was woken by a phone call just after 4am on Sunday, he was hoping it was another false alarm at his West Gladstone Foodworks – but this time it wasn’t.

For the first time since he bought the Mellefont Street business in 2016, he said he was shocked when he checked the CCTV cameras from home.

“I got up and checked the cameras and saw that the front door was smashed,” Mr Rehman said.

“I am always checking the cameras when I get a call and they have been false alarms.

“This was very bad, a big disappointment.”

Manager Zafar Aziz shows the damage where a thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens
Manager Zafar Aziz shows the damage where a thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens

A popular store with locals, the Foodworks is famous for its authentic Asian food and groceries.

Mr Rehman said he got in his car and was at his store within minutes.

Gladstone police attended quickly, Mr Rehman said, and commenced their investigation.

“The police were great,” he said.

“They finished their investigation in time for us to open.

“I provided the police with a copy of the CCTV from the cameras.

“The police said they got some fingerprints, so we are hoping whoever did it gets caught.

What the CCTV cameras captured was a lone thief, Mr Rehman said.

“There was one man wearing a mask, gloves and a hoodie,” he said.

“He used some type of cutter to get through the front glass door.”

The robbery was all over within about 30 seconds, Mr Rehman said, in which time the thief smashed into the store, went behind the counter, back outside and returned to grab more.

“He got into the cash drawer with the float in it and took the whole draw,” he said.

“The tobacco cabinet was locked, so he grabbed some cigarette papers, filters and some Aerogard.”

When news of the break-in was posted on social media, Tracey Goodwin posted ‘I heard alarms going off at about 1.30 – 2am but over near west school’.

A thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens
A thief smashed into West Gladstone Foodworks just after 4am on April 11. Picture: Rodney Stevens

But Mr Rehman said the thief smashed their way in between 4am and 4.15am.

“People have come in and said they heard the alarm,” he said.

“Usually there are people and lights on at the bakery across the road, but at 4am on Sunday there was nobody around on the streets.

“If it happened around midnight there might have been more people around, but not at 4am on Sunday morning.”

On social media, Shane Neilsen suggested a potential avenue of inquiry for police.

“Check bakery camera it shows the street,” he posted.

Anyone with any information about the break-in is urged to call Policelink on 131 444 or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000, where details can be provided anonymously.

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