Solar Seafoods again targeted by thieves

By Liz Mellino

It was a disappointing start to the week's trade at Shepparton's Solar Seafoods yesterday with the business targeted by thieves in the early hours of the morning.

The Corio St store was closed yesterday for clean-up and repairs, with owner Dave Fairless confirming it was the fifth time the seafood store had been targeted in the same amount of years.

Left visibly disheartened and disappointed by the actions of the unknown thieves, Mr Fairless said he and his partner Jenny were left to pick up the pieces once again.

“We're struggling at best, like all businesses in Shepparton, struggling at best to keep afloat and things like this happen and you just wonder why,” he said.

“It also means loss of trade for a day — turning customers away — which is not nice.”

Mr Fairless said he was woken about 3.30 am yesterday to an alert saying the alarms were going off inside the store.

Jumping straight onto the store's camera surveillance on his phone he was greeted with a message saying ‘security system failed to connect'.

“We knew something was wrong so we came into the store and (the security camera system) was all ripped out of the wall,” Mr Fairless said.

“The monitors were ripped off the wall out of the plaster and the hard drive box that records all the footage had been stolen.”

The store's front doors and glass were repaired yesterday ahead of trade today.

While nothing else was stolen during the incident, the glass on the store's front door was smashed and the frame bent out of shape, with a star picket found near the footpath which he believes the thieves used to enter the premises.

With the tills damaged, EFTPOS machines pulled to pieces and the contents of cupboards tipped onto the store floor, Mr Fairless and his staff spent yesterday cleaning up.

While Mr Fairless said he was unable to put a price on the repair bill for yesterday's incident, each of the previous incidents at the store had cost him and his partner between $5000 and $10 000 to repair the damage.

“It's not just happening to us, it's happening everywhere, it's happening all over Shepparton and it's hard enough for businesses to operate as it is, as there is only one in three shops occupied — and then this happens,” Mr Fairless said.

“It's very disheartening.”

Customers were greeted with a note on the store's front door yesterday saying the business was "regretfully closed" for trading. 

Anyone who witnessed any suspicious behavior around the time of the incident is urged to phone Senior Constable Kitching at Shepparton Police Station on 5820 5777. Alternatively a confidential report can be made via Crime Stoppers, phone 1800 333 000.

Solar Seafoods is open today for trade from 8 am to 6 pm.