A staff member at Harbour Town Shopping Centre returned to find all four wheels and tyres stripped from her brand new car in the Biggera Waters car park.
A staff member at Harbour Town Shopping Centre returned to find all four wheels and tyres stripped from her brand new car in the Biggera Waters car park.

Wheels stripped from new car in shopping centre car park

A WORKER at one of the city's biggest shopping centres walked to her new car at the end of a shift last week to find all its wheels had been stolen.

The thieves had lifted the car and removed all four tyres in a car park at Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Biggera Waters, last Thursday. It happened in broad daylight, between 11am and 5pm, and without bystanders supposedly noticing.

 

The woman, in her 50s, had bought the Mazda stationwagon only two weeks earlier.

Police investigations are continuing.

Shopping centre staff said crime in the car parks was "out of control".

"There's something happening every day in the car park. It's out of control," said Tony Wilkinson who works at the centre.

The car, which was stripped of all four wheels and tyres at the Harbour Town Shopping Centre car park, was only two weeks' old.
The car, which was stripped of all four wheels and tyres at the Harbour Town Shopping Centre car park, was only two weeks' old.

"When people are not on the best money, just trying to survive, it's hard for them to go buy four new wheels and tyres just to get your car back on the road.

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"There was a shooting in the car park earlier this year, my mate's motorbike got stolen a couple of weeks ago and my car is damaged from when someone tried to break in. But the complaints just fall on deaf ears.

The shopping centre has long had issues with its parking facilities.
The shopping centre has long had issues with its parking facilities.

Mr Wilkinson said staff regularly complained about car damage and theft.

"Every single morning in every single car park you have a security guard in a golf buggy watching for staff. They threaten to tow your car if you park in the wrong place," he said.

"They're too worried about what the staff and delivery drivers are doing, they don't monitor the staff car parks at all."

Employees have called for more lighting and CCTV across the centre car parks.

Bond University's Dr Terry Goldsworthy believed areas like shopping centres could create the perfect environment for crime.

Bonney MP Sam O'Connor is encouraging the State Government to accept an offer for a police beat at Harbour Town at a peppercorn rent.
Bonney MP Sam O'Connor is encouraging the State Government to accept an offer for a police beat at Harbour Town at a peppercorn rent.

"(In this situation) if there's people walking through the car park are they going to want to get involved, or will they just assume whoever's doing it must be the owner?" he said.

"If you go and do it in someone's driveway the neighbours will clearly know who should and shouldn't be there.

"It's the normal reaction of many witnesses (at shopping centres). They don't want to get involved. There's somebody else around and they can do it."

Member for Bonney Sam O'Connor petitioned for a police beat to be established at Harbour Town.

Dr Terry Goldsworthy spoke to media today regarding a report that was released about policing yesterday. Pic by Richard Gosling
Dr Terry Goldsworthy spoke to media today regarding a report that was released about policing yesterday. Pic by Richard Gosling

He tabled a letter in parliament last month from centre executives offering to fit out a police hub for the token rental price of $1.

"I think there's a fairly good likelihood (of it happening)," Mr O'Connor said. "It's such a good deal the government really can't afford not to take it."

Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre's centre manager Greg Day said a police beat was still on the drawing board, along with plans to "improve" CCTV.

Harbour Town-related complaints to police in the past 12 months have included: 132 thefts, 15 property damage offences, nine stolen cars, four assaults and three robberies.

However, Mr Day said crime had dropped in that time by 13 per cent compared to the year before.

"The centre has security on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and designated staff in car parking areas which are monitored at frequent intervals throughout the day along with the rest of the property," he said.

Dr Goldsworthy said increases and decreases in crime around centres could be attributed to "guardianship" by management.

"If you have obvious CCTV, police guards, shopfronts where the police are visible it makes it a less attractive option to an offender," he said.

"I think those types of things have a big determination on the amount of incidents in shopping centres.

"Half the battle is making yourself not an attractive target. If you can do that, you're halfway to success."



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