THIEVES hit six businesses in six hours, taking $10,000 in cash.
The Yarrawonga businesses, all in the main street, were robbed during the early hours of Monday morning, with the traders losing takings from the peak of holiday trade.
Detective Sen-Constable Mat Prestage, of Cobram police, said there were two, and possibly three, suspects who covered their faces with hooded jumpers and baseball caps and used an iron bar and screwdriver to force open doors and ransack cash boxes and safes between midnight and 6am.
Belmore Street businesses Nosh Deli, VideoLand, The Reject Shop, Beyond the Fringe, Cooper’s Homemade Pies and Yarrawonga Mulwala Real Estate were hit.
The thieves also broke into a vacant shop and tried unsuccessfully to enter an eighth store.
More than $10,000 in cash was taken and Nosh Deli owner Sharon O’Brien said they were hit during their peak period when Yarrawonga’s population spikes with an influx of visitors.
“If you’re an aware criminal you would realise there’s a lot of money flowing around in January,” Ms O’Brien said.
“This is the time of year when the businesses would be making money.”
Ms O’Brien said thousands of dollars were stolen from her business.
“It’s more shock than anything because in the main street, it’s a pretty close-knit group of traders and this is the month to make hay while the sun shines.”
Beyond the Fringe hairdressers lost more than $1000 in cash as well as products valued at $4500.
Tony Elliott, who runs the business with his wife, Lynette, and daughter, Rochelle, is unsure if insurance will cover the cash theft.
“It makes you feel sick in the stomach but it’s one of those things,” he said.
“No matter what you do to try to control it, if they want to get in, they’ll get in.”
Detectives have released security footage of the break-ins.
It shows two or three people wearing hooded jumpers and caps rifling through cash boxes.
“There are a lot more people in the town, which gives you a pool of possible suspects that’s a lot greater,” Sen-Constable Prestage said.
He urged anyone who recognised the suspects in the still images of the security footage, or has information, to come forward, as well as anyone who saw anything suspicious on Sunday night and Monday morning.
People can contact Cobram police on (03) 5871 1977 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.