Store is raided for the fifth time

A lone thief has stolen a quantity of cigarettes from a rural supermarket.

The robber, decked from head to toe in navy blue clothes – with only his eyes showing – took just 30 seconds to empty the four display cabinets containing cigarettes at Woolsey’s Mace in Scotch Street, the fifth time the shop has been raided in the past four years.

Owner Don Woolsey said, “An armed robbery three years ago during trading hours – when money was the target – was the worst.

“My son Gordon and I had guns held to our heads and that was really frightening.

“We’re obviously fed up with this, but we’ll continue to serve our loyal customers.”

The thief crow-barred his way into the shop via the front entrance. And every move he made inside the store was captured on security camera, starting at 2.59 am.

He carried two large plastic containers, forced the cabinets open and, working at breakneck speed, filled both the boxes.

Timers on the cameras showed that from the time the burglar rushed around the counters until he sped away, he took precisely one minute 30 seconds. He is thought to have had a car waiting nearby and sped off.

Said Mr Woolsey, “It was obviously meticulously planned and timed. We have security warning lines through to a private firm, and the police arrived 20 minutes after the thief broke in.”

The thief wore navy blue trousers and sweater, had a scarf over his mouth and wore a woolly hat. The security pictures showed he was young and fit, possibly in his 20s, and of average build and height.

Local representatives Sydney Anderson MLA and Councillor Johnny Buckley were on the scene, and called for a greater police presence and more regular patrolling in rural areas. “Rural people feel more and more vulnerable with the numbers of local police stations being decimated,” said Mr Buckley. “They pay their taxes and are entitled to a better service.”

Mr Anderson said, “The Woolseys have served this community for decades and are highly respected.”