General News

24 August, 2022

Business considers move over constant town crime

REPEATED break-ins to a new business in Byrnes Street have forced the owners to consider closing their doors and relocating to a safer town.

By Rhys Thomas

Fantasy Tails owner Zach Kroonenburg with the mass of CCTV camera wiring which was cut during a recent break-in.
Fantasy Tails owner Zach Kroonenburg with the mass of CCTV camera wiring which was cut during a recent break-in.

Fantasy Tails have been operating for just 18 months but over the past year have been broken into at least seven times and have had multiple incidences of vandalism, property damage and theft. 

Owners Jared Yates and Zach Kroonenburg have been vocal about the rising crime rate in Mareeba and are now feeling targeted, with the latest break-in seeing a lone perpetrator cutting the wires to their CCTV and stealing the box. 

With their tenancy expiring in November, the young business owners have started to seriously consider fleeing Mareeba in favour of a safer town amidst fears the perpetrators may target the animals within the store.

“It almost seems like the most sensible option and for the safety of the animals as well – we don’t have the rescue cats in here anymore because we are scared for their safety,” Mr Kroonenburg said.

“We have had seven major incidents but we have had many more smaller things that aren’t even worth bringing up like graffiti and shop lifting, we have had a heap of cases of shop lifting.

“We have spoken to every level of government as well as the council and councillors but everyone just points the finger at each other.” 

The young owners have been publicly outspoken against crime in Mareeba and some members of the community have suggested they should quieten down in a bid to stop being targeted. 

However, Mr Yates and Mr Kroonenburg believe they should not have to be silent and walk on eggshells around young off enders who are doing the wrong thing.

“We have been vocal about crime because we want something to be done, we don’t want our town to be run by juvenile off enders,” Mr Kroonenburg said. 

“Business owners should not have to cower in fear and have sleepless nights wondering about when they will get broken into next.” 

Fantasy Tails has forked out $30,000 to either repair damages or install security systems to deter break-ins, however over the past two weeks, there have been five attempted break-ins to the back of the business. 

The owners have been constantly forced to choose to either provide product for their customers or repair damages to their businesses – they even had to postpone their plans for a major expansion. 

“We had big hopes and dreams but the last two weeks have been an emotional drain,” Mr Yates said.

Mr Yates and Mr Kroonenburg call Mareeba their home and do not want to have to flee to ensure the safety of their livelihoods, however it has become a fact they have started to consider.

A shocked Mareeba Chamber of Commerce president Joe Moro said he is disgusted by the way Fantasy Tails has been targeted.

“It is terrible and I am very disappointed by the level they have been targeted, it is disgusting – it would be very sad to lose them and I hope they reconsider,” he said. 

“They should be able to do their business and express their views, it is very sad and disappointing in the sense that they may be forced out of the town.

“We’ve heard from a number of businesses that part of the reason why they’ve closed down is because of the level of crime they have been experiencing.”

Other businesses in town were also victims of crime last week, with two businesses on Atherton Street broken into and another on Byrnes Street early Tuesday morning. 

The Mareeba Leagues Club also had one of its front glass doors smashed last Wednesday morning and alcohol stolen, while another attempt was made last Wednesday night.


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