A thief broke broke in through the roof of a popular Shepparton gaming shop causing thousands of dollars-worth of damage to steal “petty cash” from a claw machine and cash register, early on Friday morning.
Gamer’s Resort owner Ben Ladson believes the thief climbed up onto the roof about 4.30 am where they ripped off multiple sheet-metal panels and destroyed a motion sensor before fleeing when an alarm went off.
He said the thief then returned to the roof about 6.30 am, climbed down through the broken panel onto the claw machine into the shop where they broke two padlocks to gain access to money from the machine and cash register.
“The ironic thing was that I was up at that time changing my six-month-old baby when the alarm went off,” Mr Ladson said.
“The other times the alarm has gone off was when a poster fell and triggered it, and a mouse, so like the boy who cried wolf, I assumed it was nothing and waited a few minutes before checking the CCTV on my phone.
“But when I did, I saw someone scurrying around in the shop.”
CCTV footage shows a hooded figure with a torch using a large screw driver to prise open a cash register.
Mr Ladson said the thief fled when the alarm was triggered, escaping back through the roof before he and the police arrived about 6.45 am.
“A couple of hundred dollars was stolen all up,” he said.
“The real cost is the damage done to the building, not the petty cash.
“It will be over $1000 (damage) done to the building, multiple roofing panels, the till, claw machine and security system.”
While acknowledging it may not have been the thief’s “first rodeo” — citing their use of gloves, their ability to crack open a till, climb an icy roof at sub-zero temperatures and knowledge of where to jump down — Mr Ladson said he forgave them.
“I forgive the guy for doing it, they must be having some hard times to do this,” he said.
“They took all the 5c coins from the till.
“The thief was wearing a mask and gloves, so at least they were ‘covid safe’ — I just want them to come back to sign in, so we can do proper contact tracing.”
Shepparton police were contacted for comment.