Myaree: family-run hobby shop fighting for survival after spate of break-ins

Hobbytech Toys owner Craig Hepburn.
A picture taken by Hobbytech Toys owner Craig Hepburn after thieves raided his store last year.
Hobbytech Toys owner Craig Hepburn. A picture taken by Hobbytech Toys owner Craig Hepburn after thieves raided his store last year.

A FAMILY-RUN hobby shop in Myaree could become uninsurable if struck by thieves again, its owner believes.

About $37,700 worth of radio-controlled cars, helicopters and drones were stolen in raids on the Hobbytech Toys store on September 23, November 23 and Christmas morning.

Owner Craig Hepburn said the cost to repair windows smashed during the three incidents also totalled $4800, with thieves undeterred by internal and external cameras and an alarm system.

The glass windows and store doors were targeted as entry points during the incidents.

Temporary bars on doors and panelling on windows were put in place after the third break-in, but Mr Hepburn said he had been in talks with his landlord about installing security shutters and was looking at upgrading his alarm system.

“Our business is at risk – we can’t have another break-in,” Mr Hepburn said.

“If we do, I don’t think we’ll be insurable.”

Despite police laying multiple charges over the first two incidents, Mr Hepburn – who runs the business with his wife and two children – said the potential for another late-night call from police weighed heavily on his mind.

“It’s stressful,” he said.

“After Christmas night it’s been ‘what time are the police going to ring’ and ‘what are (thieves) going to do next?’”

Palmyra Police acting senior sergeant Jason Liddelow said it was possible the items were nabbed to be moved or sold prior to Christmas.

He said officers often scoured online marketplaces and social media to match stolen items with those for sale.

Snr Sgt Liddelow said customers should not be afraid to enquire further if items they are considering purchasing are new or being offered at an unusually low price.

“It could be for legitimate reasons – maybe it was an unwanted gift or the person is moving and needs to get rid of it – but if it doesn’t add up, ask questions about why it is so cheap and where it cam from,” he said.

He said information could also be forwarded to police.

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