Brazen break-in shocks shop owner

Jim Hughes and Sons owner Rob Turner inspects damage to the Quadrant Mall store, Launceston, after an attempted break-in. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Jim Hughes and Sons owner Rob Turner inspects damage to the Quadrant Mall store, Launceston, after an attempted break-in. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

AN attempted jewellery heist in Launceston's CBD has left its victim stunned at the brazenness of the act.

Just before 8pm on Wednesday two men began smashing the shopfront of Jim Hughes and Sons in the Quadrant Mall using what appeared to be crowbars.

The would-be thieves were interrupted by onlookers, one of whom gave chase.

In a dramatic escape one of the offenders was forced to jump on the back of the getaway car as it sped off.

Store owner Robert Turner said he couldn't believe a break-in would be attempted at that hour of the day. 

``I just couldn't believe the timing  _ 10 to eight,'' he said.

``The economy is going down and people are getting desperate. This is completely brazen and desperate.''

Mr Turner had collected some 1200 signatures to have something done about anti-social behaviour in the area before this.

``I've been pushing for change, I don't think it's linked but ironically I've been targeted,'' he said.

One witness said he heard a loud banging followed by shouts.

``This guy was hanging on the back of the car (as it drove off). I thought they were tying to get the person in the car,'' he said.

``Something must have happened and they wanted to get away very quickly.''

Mr Turner said the ordeal would cost him about $3500 replacing the  window and the damaged display casing.

Launceston CIB has collected CCTV footage and is investigating. 

The incident follows a spike in the number of burglaries in Launceston in July. 

Launceston uniform division Inspector Michael Johnston said police had nabbed people responsible for a significant number of the break-ins.

``Over a three-week period we got hit quite heavily with burglaries _ residential and business,'' he said yesterday. 

``Over the last seven days through some strategies we've implemented we've locked up quite a number of crooks and it's slowed down significantly again.''

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