Teens terrorise stores

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Tutti Frutti staff were subjected to the frightening behaviour.
Camera IconTutti Frutti staff were subjected to the frightening behaviour. Credit: Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph/Picture: Holly Thompson, Holly Thompson/ Sound Telegraph

Store owners along the Rockingham foreshore have banded together to stop a group of young thugs from terrorising the strip.

A group of about six boys, all under 18, targeted the Tutti Frutti store along the cafe strip the most, throwing chairs at windows, taunting young female employees and throwing mulch at them.

Three have now been charged by police, thanks to a video posted to Facebook, which reached some of their parents.

Store owner Deb Martin said the behaviour had started six to eight months ago and had gradually worsened over time.

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“They started off just being a little bit annoying, riding their push bikes back and forth laughing at the girls working,” she said.

“As time went on they would get gamer with what they were doing. Over the Christmas school holidays they started to expand on their behaviour.

“They would kick our sign over or fill a cup with yoghurt and bolt.”

Ms Martin said their behaviour continued to get worse. They started throwing chairs at the windows, grabbing handfuls of yoghurt toppings and throwing them across the store, spitting and swearing.

“They also took handfuls of mulch from next door’s pot plants and threw that at the girls faces, it was pretty rough,” she said.

“It got to the point where it was just pure intimidation and the girls were concerned for their safety and in tears.

“We had to shut our doors, three times over one week at the worst point. We lost out on a lot of business and the girls lost income because they were frightened to stay here.”

“It’s also not fair to them, having to deal with that. It’s not what they come to work for.”

Ms Martin said police were called, but by the time they got there the boys were always gone.

“However the police did have a good idea about who they were and it was really good when we got some footage of a few of them,” she said.

“I put it up on the store Facebook page and from there I had a few mums contact me who were mortified.

“They brought their kids in and we had a bit of a sit down here with the police and several other store owners.

“It wasn’t just me they were terrorising. I think they just targeted here more because they knew it was mostly young girls working.”

Ms Martin said since this meeting was held about a week ago, there had been no further issues and that the community had been incredibly supportive throughout the ordeal.

She also said the three boys had been handed a barring order and would be charged with trespass if they came back.

Another store owner along the same street, who did not want to be named, said three of the boys had also come into her store and stolen various items. She said they had only seemed about 12 years old.

If you require local police assistance call 131 444.

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