Two burglaries in three days has jeweller Bill Allan comparing Ballarat to one of America’s crime capitals of the 1920s.
Just after 2am on Saturday, thieves smashed a pane of glass near the front door of Allan Bros Jewellery, stealing a number of diamond and coloured-stone rings.
The value of the rings is still being calculated by Mr Allan and his staff, but he said they would be valued “well into the thousands” of dollars.
Then at 6am yesterday, Mr Allan again received a phone call from police telling him another window had been smashed and more stock had been stolen.
“I’m starting to wonder what I’m doing,” he said during the clean-up yesterday. “Are we in little Chicago here or are we in a regional city called Ballarat?”
Mr Allan’s family have been running the business for 75 years. In that time, there have been many “smash and grabs”, but evidence is pointing to them becoming more frequent of late.
More than $60,000 worth of jewellery was stolen on February 11 when thieves smashed through the glass entry door.
Those offenders were later caught by police, charged and sentenced. Unfortunately, little of the stock was recovered.
“The shock was Friday’s break-in, but this one, I started to laugh actually,” he said when describing yesterday’s burglary.
“I don’t envy the job the police have got to do, because at the end of the day, they’re banging their head against the brick wall.”
Ballarat Police Superintendent Andrew Allen has previously highlighted that branding a growing regional city with simple labels could be alarmist and wrong without a fuller picture of the details and statistics.
He said despite individual incidents there were overall improvements in some areas of crime statistics and Ballarat remained a safe place to live.
Police are investigating the burglaries and have asked any witnesses to come forward.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.