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Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Third time unlucky for restaurant

By Hayley Gastmeier

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A burglar was chased away from Tripoli Bistro in Kuripuni on Sunday night, just seconds after smashing his way through the glass door.

It is now the third time the Masterton restaurant has been broken into in the span of about five months, leaving its owner calling for a greater police presence.

It had been a busy night for Reiss Taylor, a staff member at Tripoli Bistro in Kuripuni.

He had been in the last stages of closing up shop when, at about 11.20pm, a man broke in through the glass panel.

“I was just doing the final check of the building, making sure everything was locked up, turned off, and was signing out in the kitchen when I heard the window smash,” Mr Taylor said.

“I heard a loud banging and crashing, followed by breaking glass.

“I was thinking ‘maybe it’s an earthquake and something’s fallen over, what’s going on?'”

He said a man had taken to a glass door at the front of the restaurant with a large rock.

“So I came out to see him coming through the door, and I stupidly ran at him.

“I just went at him and was like ‘what the hell are you doing?’

“And then as I approached he tipped over the furniture to stop me and then he was gone – it was all really very fast.”

After 10 years in hospitality, Mr Taylor said this was the first time he had been in a situation of this nature.

“The thought of being scared, or considering whether he had a weapon, didn’t really cross my mind at all.

“It was all so instant — bang, crash — all within seconds, and then he was gone.”

Mr Taylor believes the offender had been watching the restaurant from afar, and was not aware that a staff member was still on site.

Immediately after the commotion he called the police, who turned up “within minutes”.

Tripoli’s front door was smashed with a rock in a burglary just one month ago, when cash was stolen.

The first break-in, in the five years since the business opened, took place just five months ago when thieves jemmied the back door open and stole the safe that had about $1500 cash and vouchers inside.

Frozen meats were also stolen in the July burglary.

Owner Marlon Tortoza suspects Sunday night’s offender was the same person who burgled the restaurant last month.

Video footage of the crime has been handed over to police.

Mr Tortoza is now calling for greater police presence and surveillance cameras to be installed in the town.

He said he and other restaurant staff often felt “very vulnerable” finishing work so late at night.

“It would be nice to see more police and police cars around, patrolling the area, and just making sure that everyone is safe because it is just too often.

“It would be nice also if there was more public security, maybe if the council or police put more cameras up around the area because it’s ridiculous.

“It would take something to go really bad and then it would be too late.”

In saying this, Mr Tortoza was impressed with the police’s quick response.

“They were really prompt once they were called upon.

“But the fact that scumbags are roaming the streets at night, terrorizing people’s houses and businesses is not right and we’ve got to catch them.”

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