THE co-owner of a family-run cafe in Wendouree has warned that the business could be forced to shut down after falling victim to a second burglary within a month, and the third in the past year.
Police were called to Coronet Breakfast and Lunch Bar on Coronet Street yesterday morning after the owners arrived to find the front door smashed and the premises ransacked.
Detective Senior Constable Troy Wickham said it was unknown how many offenders carried out the burglary, which took place between 4pm Friday and 9am yesterday.
He said a quantity of cash was stolen, and urged any witnesses to contact police.
Business co-owner Barb Forte was devastated by the brazen theft, which she said would likely set the business back about $6000.
The break-in comes less than a week after a new shop front was put in place following a burglary late last month.
“It’s so disheartening. It’s getting to the stage where we’ll have to close if this keeps happening, and it’s happening all over Ballarat,” she said.
“It’s just really frustrating, we’re a little family-run business, how can we afford this?
“When I first walked in I just burst into tears, I didn’t know what to say.
“People kept calling and texting and I didn’t know what to tell them, I was really angry and upset.”
But Ms Forte and her family were given some good news on an otherwise devastating day.
“The landlord, he’s said to us not to worry about rent this month which is just phenomenal,” she said.
“But then we’ve still got to go and get quotes and do it all again.
“Every time this happens you lose more money.”
Ms Forte said not only would the business need another new shop front, but other damage had to be repaired along with the cost of two days of lost earnings.
“There’s a heap of businesses up here that are getting broken into all the time,” she said.
“They just need to make the penalties so much more harsh to stop them.”
Anyone with information about the break-in should contact the Ballarat Police Station on 5336 6000 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.