A POPULAR Hilton cafe damaged during a ram raid early on Saturday morning will open this weekend before closing briefly again so repairs can be completed.
It’s the third time in a year The Local on Paget Street has been targeted by thieves, says owner Brett Claughton, although the $20,000 – $30,000 damage bill and loss of last weekend’s trade has hit much harder this time.
At around 3.50am on Saturday the thieves rammed the cafe four times with a stolen red Volkswagen Golf GTI, breaking through a heavy roller door and extensively damaging the surrounding brickwork.
Mr Claughton said after the earlier robberies he’d learned his lesson and left virtually nothing at the cafe; the thieves made off with just $5 from the tip jar.
The red Volkswagen was then used in another ram raid at Scarvaci’s IGA on Rockingham Road, Hamilton Hill just after 4am.
Police say the thieves crashed through the glass entrance doors and dislodged an ATM, although they were unable to get any cash out and fled on foot.
Fremantle detectives are investigating whether there’s a link between the two ram raids and the robbery of a Hilton woman just moments later.
The 30-year-old was walking along Holmes Place at about 4.15am when two men approached from behind and pushed her to the ground, rifling through her handbag and leaving her with minor cuts and bruises.
The pair were described as dark skinned, in their early 20s and with slim builds.
There was also another significant robbery at Myaree at 2am on Thursday morning, when thieves stole seven red/white Honda CRF450R and CRF250R motorcycles from a McCoy Street dealership.
Mr Claughton says there’s some irony in the fact his shop is four doors down from a police station which was closed almost a decade ago in a police drive for centralisation.
He says both neighbouring businesses have also been targeted in the last year. A visible police presence might have prevented the attacks, he says, which would be more economical than sending out multiple teams of forensics and detectives.
Mr Claughton says he really feels for his staff, who have families to feed but can’t get paid if he has no customers.
by STEVE GRANT