POLICE missed a smash and grab burglar by only minutes in Grantville yesterday morning, Monday, September 16, after he shattered the front window of a retail outlet in the town’s main shopping strip.
According to a local trader, the burglar was still on the premises at the Grantville Pharmacy, 1503 Bass Highway, shortly after 4.15am when police were alerted to the criminal activity in progress, reportedly by a security guard.
However, while police allegedly reached the scene within 16 minutes of the call-out, the burglar had legged it away from the store, reportedly with the security officer in hot pursuit.
According to local reports, the burglar headed towards a new housing estate at the rear of the shops where he initially escaped capture by either the security guard or police.
The security guard was reportedly injured in the process although it is not known whether he caught up with the offender or not.
Police set up a crime scene van in the town, continued their search and carried out extensive investigations throughout the morning.
At the time of going to press, police were unable to provide details and could not confirm whether the same offender had hit the pharmacy in San Remo earlier in the night or that they had a person into custody in relation to the incident(s).
Several other premises in the Grantville shopping strip were affected by the incident. A spokesman for the pharmacy said the burglar escaped with some items from the shop but was reluctant to provide details.
When the retail outlet reopened again after lunch, several customers offered words of support after the ordeal.
They couldn’t help but notice a gaping hole in the lower left-hand side of the shop’s front window with what appeared to be blood stains around the shattered glass opening.
It appears the burglar was injured in the commission of his crime.
It has also been reported that the burglar tampered with the main power supply to pharmacy and some of the shops in the complex, removing fuses and affecting operations at the pharmacy and the Grantville Newsagency and Post Office.
The operator of the newsagency said that while nothing was stolen, he was unable to distribute the morning papers and magazines, and trading had been affected while the shop was closed as police carried out their investigations and power was restored.
Other shop and office owners reported damage to a back rollerdoor and another the opening of an outer door but no entry or thefts.
“I was just glad it happened before we arrived for work,” said a staff member at one of the local cafés.