Manuka jewellers targeted in fourth jewellery store robbery this year
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Manuka jewellers targeted in fourth jewellery store robbery this year

A series of break-ins at jewellers in Manuka have left business owners feeling shaken and concerned they may be being targeted.

Bijoux Jewellers had its front door smashed in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with nine cabinets smashed. Although a small amount of stock was stolen, owner George Bezos said the cost of repairing the damage outweighed the lost jewellery.

Bijoux Jewellers in Manuka was broken into on Wednesday morning.

Bijoux Jewellers in Manuka was broken into on Wednesday morning.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

The robbery was the second time Bijoux Jewellers had been robbed this year, and the fourth break-in at a jeweller in the area since January 6.

While there is security footage of the offenders, Mr Bezos said they went to an effort to hide their identities with face coverings and gloves.

Bijoux Jewellers had its front door smashed in.

Bijoux Jewellers had its front door smashed in.

Photo: Jamila Toderas
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Bijoux Jewellers was targeted in January, with nearby Village Jewellers suffering a ram raid with a car on February 2. Village Jewellers owner Tony Sofoulis said the attempted robbery wasn't successful, but the offenders "made a god almighty mess everywhere" and that the shopping centre where the store is located was closed for the day.

Less than two weeks ago, in the early hours of February 23, a similar incident was reported at Creations Jewellers. Owner Natalie Alegria said that her business had sustained damage to the arcade doors and the windows, but the offenders were again unsuccessful in gaining access to her store.

Mr Sofoulis said there was a sense that local jewellers were being targeted.

"There's not many of us left who haven't had a bit of a touch up in the past few months," he said.

"The damage, the inconvenience, the mess, the loss of trading, it's just a pain in the arse basically," he said.

The second break in has been demoralising for Mr Bezos.

"It makes you feel like you want to pack up your bags and get out of town. But that's not reality though, the reality is that you have bills to pay and you've got to keep trading," he said. It could take more than a week for the store to be trading again though, with a big clean up job ahead.

Police are investigating all four incidents, but would not confirm if there were any suspects for any of the break-ins, or if they were being investigated together.

"The incidents are currently being investigated by the responding teams. However, considerations to links to the same offender/s are always part of the investigative process," a spokesperson for ACT Policing said.

Asked if they were in contact with all the business owners, the spokesperson said ACT Policing "is always happy to work closely with stakeholders and partners, where possible".

"At the moment we're just trying to cooperate with the police and form a good working relationship with them," Ms Alegria said.

Mr Bezos said he didn't blame police for the incidents, and that police were doing their best, but resources could be an issue.

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"We could do with more police on the ground in Canberra and more patrols," he said.

Fairfax Media asked ACT Policing what measures the force was taking to prevent these break-ins. In response a spokesperson said that businesses could take a number of measures, including displaying "a sign in your store window that no cash or valuables are kept on the premises" and installing security cameras.

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

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