Yeppoon's Salvation Army was broken into last Friday night for the second time in a week.
Yeppoon's Salvation Army was broken into last Friday night for the second time in a week. Margaret Turner

Disbelief over relentless hits on good-hearted charity store

FOR the second time in a week, Yeppoon's Salvation Army Store has been the target of would-be thieves.

On Friday night, a man and a youth smashed the window of the Charles St charity store, setting off alarms.

Yeppoon Salvation Army break ins: CCTV footage of Yeppoon Salvation Army store broken into twice in a week.
Yeppoon Salvation Army break ins: CCTV footage of Yeppoon Salvation Army store broken into twice in a week.

The pair went for the store's cash register, but upon finding it empty, fled the store empty-handed.

Assistant manager Phillip Walters said he was in disbelief when he discovered the store had been targeted once more.

"Disbelief that in a matter of a week we've had the same thing twice and annoyance because with the smashed window there was glass everywhere inside and outside,” he said.

"It's been a while since we've had this sort of targeting.

"Over the last couple of years we've had break-ins. Once we found the safe in the creek, but since then we've securely bolted it down and so forth.

"They've done a lot of damage.”

Following last week's break-ins the store was forced to cough up nearly $1000 to replace the window and the locks on the front door.

4NAG president Phillip Walters retells an incident which left his colleague, Robyn Campbell, with life-threatening injuries.
Phillip Walters Win News Central Queensland

"The first time they didn't take anything either. It was a gang of well-known youngsters and one of them managed to get through the front door,” Mr Walters said.

After the first break-in, the gang returned to the store during opening hours and staff promptly told them to leave.

"I though tit may be the same youngsters who've come back. I thought it might be a revenge thing,” Mr Walters said.

"Turns out it was an adult with a youngster. Whether it was a youngster who broke in at the start of the week, (I don't know).

"We have a gang of youths around town. Coles know them, everyone knows them, and we all keep an eye out for them.

"There's lawlessness in their nature.”

When news of the second break-in hit social media, the public was in uproar.

"People see our whole purpose is assisting disadvantaged people,” Mr Walters said.

"We appreciate that people and customers are outraged by this stuff and we appreciate the great support from the community here on the coast.”

Mr Walters said the store is looking into updating its security cameras and continuing to have security patrol the area at night.

"Not a lot more can be done,” he said.

A police spokesperson said police have made progress with the June 1 break-in and have a person they wish to speak to.

It is currently unknown whether the two recent matters are linked and there are no charges at this stage.

Investigations are continuing and police are continuing to make inquiries.

"There has been increased patrols of the area during the night-time hours and police are working with the local council to improve overall security, including installation of CCTV and improved lighting,” Media and Public Affairs Officer Penny Dahl said.

"Police have not charged anyone in relation to these matters therefore cannot comment further on who the offenders may be.

"Crime prevention can be achieved by reviewing security measures including the installation of alarmed and CCTV, and not leaving money tins, tips jars charity boxes on the counter after closing.”

A Community Safety Forum is being held at Yeppoon Town Hall on June 6 at 5-7pm.

Local police and crime prevention community organisations will speak to the public about their work to improve community safety.

Social media reactions

Julie Smith: "Bit sad when they had to roll the charity shops!”

De-Bee's Sewing Yeppoon: "Yeppoon is out of control we need a town meeting.”

Monika Saw: "Fancy damaging the Salvos store... the very people who do so much for the community. When caught, the perpetrators must be punished instead of getting a slap in the wrist. Bootcamp.”

Gwen Hardcastle: "My goodness this is getting ridiculous. What is happening to our lovely town.”