GONE ... IN 15 SECONDS: Bottle shop raids more common

IT took only 15 seconds for burglars to steal a safe and thousands of dollars in New Year’s Eve takings from a Wangaratta bottle shop yesterday.

Wangaratta Detective Sen-Constable Paul Campbell said two men had smashed the front window of Sovereign Liquor in Greta Road at 3.10am and had stolen a safe from under the counter.

Sen-Constable Campbell said the men had got away with thousands of dollars in cash.

“It was very opportunistic given it was a public holiday and it probably contained the takings from New Year’s Eve,” he said.

“They took it in 15 seconds.”

He said police were alerted after the shop’s alarm system was triggered by the break-in with neighbours also reporting seeing the men take off in a car.

Sen-Constable Campbell said it would cost hundreds of dollars to replace the front window.

The men did not steal any liquor.

Store supervisor Kendall King said it was the last thing the business needed.

“It’s disappointing that someone targets a small, family-owned business during the busy time of the year when we’re working our butts off to get money through the door,” Ms King said.

It was not the first time the bottle shop had been the target of burglars.

The shop, which traded as Scott’s Liquor until its name was changed about 12 months ago, was the target of thieves in June, when alcohol was taken and several youths were later charged.

But it was the first time the store’s safe had been targeted.

“There’s been little stuff, like grog taken, happen before, but nothing in this fashion,” Sen-Constable Campbell said.

Police are asking anyone who saw anything or has any information to come forward.

Information can be given to Wangaratta detectives on (03) 5723 0888 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Bottle shops have been a regular target in the region.

First Choice Liquor on Elgin Boulevard in Wodonga was burgled six times last year, while a gun was used to hold up BWS on Beechworth Road in July.

Across the Murray, a Union Road bottle shop in Albury was ram-raided and a Corowa liquor store attendant was held-up at knife-point for cash and cigarettes.

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