Officers patrolling closed businesses
Officers patrolling closed businesses

Police launch all out assault on would-be COVID looters

BUSINESSES crippled by coronavirus restrictions are being safeguarded by police on the beat watching for opportunistic thieves.

Police have dismissed a trend of closed-up businesses being targeted but insisted were doing everything they could to ensure owners weren't dealt any further blows.

Gold Coast officers, including those from the suspended Safe Night Precinct, have assisted with "proactive patrols" across the region, while Polair is also keeping a watchful eye from above.

Constable Arna Van Dorp and Acting Sergeant Susie Whitaker checking on stores while on patrol in Surfers Paradise. Picturel: Glenn Hampson
Constable Arna Van Dorp and Acting Sergeant Susie Whitaker checking on stores while on patrol in Surfers Paradise. Picturel: Glenn Hampson

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said their role was to ensure venue owners were not burdened with the additional stress of becoming victims of crime.

"When people have had to temporarily shut down due to the current restrictions, we're mindful, and we certainly understand, that they want to open up again as soon as they possibly can, and it is our job, that they are able to do that without coming back to a business that's been broken into."

Hospitality and non-essential businesses across the country were forced to shut when strict social-distancing restrictions were implemented, turning the ordinarily pumping Glitter Strip into a ghost town.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signalled restrictions could be reviewed next month. While rules could be relaxed, the sentiment among hospitality owners across the city is pubs and bars will be the last to reopen.

Surfers Paradise Licensed Venues Association president Tim Martin, who runs SinCity nightclub, said his business had cleared "anything of real value" and he had not heard too many concerns from other businesses.

Police officers are actively patrolling areas with closed businesses to ensure thieves aren't taking advantage of the situation. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Police officers are actively patrolling areas with closed businesses to ensure thieves aren't taking advantage of the situation. Picture: Glenn Hampson

"We are not concerned. We're pretty heavily fortified, we've got security monitoring. We have seen police around the beat," he said. "We definitely need them (the patrols).

Mr Martin's venue is opposite the Surfers Paradise Police Station. "You've got to be pretty stupid to break-in across the road from a police station."

It comes as three men, aged 19, 20 and 21, were allegedly caught trespassing at an under construction apartment complex at Palm Beach on Saturday.

Supt Wheeler said the incident, which used Polair, highlighted the resources being deployed to security patrols.

Originally published as Police launch all out assault on would-be COVID looters


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