Business reeling amid thefts

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Narrogin Chamber of Commerce vice-chairman Ashley Wilkins and chairman Bevan Steele.
Camera IconNarrogin Chamber of Commerce vice-chairman Ashley Wilkins and chairman Bevan Steele. Credit: Traill, Michael Traill

Police have charged six males, aged between 15 and 41, allegedly connected to a string of burglaries targeting Narrogin businesses in recent weeks.

The six males will all front court this month, in both Narrogin and Perth, faced with a combined 34 charges.

Charges range from stealing a motor vehicle to aggravated burglary and commit.

Among the six alleged offenders, a 16-year-old will face 12 of the 34 charges.

It is understood some of the offenders are linked to a number of crime sprees which have plagued the region since the start of the year and could even stretch back to September 2018.

Cash and easy-to-sell items are believed to have been the primary target of the burglaries.

With half a day’s notice, dozens of business owners in town converged at the Shire of Narrogin chambers recently for an emergency meeting held by Narrogin Chamber of Commerce and local police.

Dozens of business owners met on short notice to discuss the burglaries with local police and the Chamber of Commerce last Monday.
Camera IconDozens of business owners met on short notice to discuss the burglaries with local police and the Chamber of Commerce last Monday. Credit: Ashley Wilkins.

Chamber chairman Bevan Steele said the spate of break-ins was hurting local merchants and he pleaded with business owners to look into their property’s security systems.

“Loss of revenue in theft, damage to premises and disruption of trade is huge. One broken window might take you out of business for a day or two,” he said.

Mr Steele said failings across a number of public services had contributed to the scope of break-ins the region was facing.

“There are a number of factors contributing to it, but drug-use is one of many of the other factors,” he said.

“The justice system is letting everyone down — the penalties attached to committing a crime are almost negligible, but there are also other programs that don’t work.

“With my bleeding heart story, these guys come from broken homes, their parents don’t care about them, they don’t engage with school, they don’t engage with other community programs.

“There’s nothing for them,(they) have a shot of meth or some ganja, then need the next fix,” he said.

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