Derry shopping centre targeted in robbery
The owner of one of several businesses targeted during a shopping centre robbery in Derry has said the thieves even stole tips earned by staff.
The break-in occurred at Northside Shopping Centre in the Greater Shantallow area overnight.
The culprit robbed Bareknuckle Barbers and is also understood to have robbed a chemist, as well as trying to get money out of amusement machines at the centre on Glengalliagh Road.
One culprit was captured on CCTV raiding Bareknuckle Barbers.
The man, wearing a light coloured hoodie and with a scarf covering his face and gloves on his hands, is seen trying to smash open containers to get money.
Police have yet to confirm if the thief was acting alone or is believed to have been part of a gang.
Greg McNeil, proprietor at Bareknuckle Barbers, said the robber stole the float and three tip jars that were in the premises and caused damaged to two doors.
“They probably got a couple of hundred pounds from the barbers. This was money people had earned,” he said.
Mr McNeil said it seems like the culprit jumped a fence to access the centre and entered in through a back door,
He added that if the costs to the business had been more extensive it could have left him struggling to meet expenses such as rent.
“It could have been worse, they could have trashed the place and the main thing is no-one was hurt,” he said.
Speaking about the impact of the break in, Mr McNeil earlier today posted on Facebook: “I just want to say thanks to all my friends and family for the support and the lads at the shop be lost with out the team, also all the staff in Northside have as usual been really supportive and helpful. “The main reason I wanted a unit here was the sense of community you get when your here, and everyone has shown it.
“I’m not going to sit here and rant about the person, but just in the chance anyone with the same intentions for future businesses is reading this remember this, you’re taking straight from someone who has worked very hard in getting to where they are, they have chosen to get up and graft for what is theirs, and provide for their family.
“I’m not in business because I have money. I made sacrifices and choices. Hopefully you will make better ones in the future. It’s never to late to change.”
Sinn Féin Councilllor for the area Caoimhe McKnight condemned the break-in.
Councillor McKnight said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that these premises were targeted in this way.
“They are providing jobs and services for local people.
“Many small businesses are working on tight margins and the last thing they need is any disruption or added costs or losses caused by this break in.
“I would urge anyone with information to contact the police straight away,” she added.