The West

No way out: Rangeway Takeaways owners Hank Schoonhoven and his partner Dana Sturn are fed up with vandalism.
No way out: Rangeway Takeaways owners Hank Schoonhoven and his partner Dana Sturn are fed up with vandalism.

Geraldton detectives last night arrested a man in relation to three robberies committed in two weeks at Rangeway Shopping Centre.

In each case, the victims were elderly and overcome by force, with one female victim requiring medical treatment for injuries sustained in the assault.

The attacks occurred on July 4 at 10am, July 10 at 4.30pm and July 18 at 4pm.

Detective Nicole Simon said last night that investigating officers were interviewing a 35-year-old man in relation to the attacks, it was not yet known if charges would be laid.

Detective Simon said the robberies illustrated the importance of people taking constant note of their surroundings.

The robberies were the latest in a string of incidents at Rangeway that have the proprietors of at least one business pondering their future.

Hank Schoonhoven and his partner of 16 years, Dana Sturn, bought Rangeway Takeaways shortly after emigrating to Australia from the Netherlands.

Repeated attacks on the business have seen their insurance premiums increase to a point where they can no longer afford that protection.

“Last year our damage bill was $6500, the most recent burglary two weeks ago cost us $5700,” said Mr Schoonhoven.

“We had left $160 in the till overnight, but they stole the till in addition to the damage they caused to get in.”

After police arrested two juveniles and retrieved $50 cash, Mr Schoonhoven asked for photos of the offenders so he could ban them from the shop, but was told it would infringe their privacy.

“Their privacy, what about ours? They break in and steal from us but we’re not allowed to know who they are and bar them from our premises,” he said.

Mr Schoonhoven said antisocial behaviour in the area had reached new heights.

“Our landlord and our suppliers have been really good, helping us get things repaired and giving us extra time to pay our accounts, but that can’t go on forever,” he said.

“We have a real problem, and it’s only getting worse.”

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