Another Wokingham business is targeted in latest burglary
Published: 16 Feb 2014 12:300 comments
The Gig House, Denmark Street, was raided last week, with thieves smashing the fire escape window to gain entry.
On arrival for work last Monday, staff found fruit machines attacked by a sledgehammer, which was left at the scene.
The Wetherspoons chain has five fruit machines but only one was successfully broken into after the hammer broke while the burglar was attempting to break into a second machine.
The offender, caught on camera wearing a balaclava, dark clothing and gloves, was in the building for a matter of minutes, the pub’s manager Chris Gunningham confirmed.
He said: “We have got an alarm system but they were clever to look at where the sensors are and not trip any.
“There are sensors on the door so if they had pushed it open, they would have set them off. They crawled through the window.
“They knew where to stand, there are no sensors above the fruit machine. They must have had prior knowledge. The police don’t believe so but I feel they must have known what they were doing.”
The burglar was seen on camera running off in the direction of the Spin Bar.
Mr Gunningham added: “They took absolutely nothing else, I consider it a bit odd that they didn’t even take a bottle or two of spirits. I’m just glad they didn’t take any alcohol – that’s when it gets really expensive. But it’s cost me around £500 in damages, it’s frustrating.”
The pub, which has never been broken into before, has since installed three extra sensors.
Mr Gunningham added it was business as usual, fixing the machines the same day, and said: “The main thing is no-one was hurt. We had closed about 2am, and my staff came in at 5am.
“If they [the burglar] had come half an hour later, I don’t want to think about what would have happened if they’d been confronted.”
Police confirmed they would be stepping up police patrols in the area, around the times of the offences. A number of other town centre shops have been targeted recently. Family-run jewellers Wellington’s in Market Place, and Rococo’s in Bush Walk, have both been victims of smash and grabs.
Police confirmed they did not believe the thefts from the jewellery shops were linked, but added that it was ‘unusual’ to have this type of crime in town. The Old Forge and Caffe Nero, both in Peach Street, were both broken into on Sunday, January 19.
Police confirmed thieves stole a safe containing a ‘quantity of cash’ from Caffe Nero, and a jet washer was stolen from The Old Forge. And figures released by the Home Office for December show an increase in reported crime for Wokingham Town, when compared with the same month in 2012.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the break-in at The Gig House to call Crime-stoppers on 0800 555111.