Thieves target cafe twice in eight days

Pakenham's Oven Kraft Cafe was attacked by thieves once again on Friday 14 January - a devastating blow for the business. Pics: GABRIELLA PAYNE 264826_03

By Gabriella Payne

As if the Covid situation wasn’t enough to deal with, a popular Pakenham cafe is now trying to pick up the pieces after being targeted by thieves for the second time in just eight days.

The team at the Oven Kraft Cafe and Restaurant on Henry Road had just fixed the damage from a burglary the week before when they discovered they’d been broken into yet again on Friday 14 January – a devastating way to start the year.

Oven Kraft’s owner and operator, Amit Sharma, said that it was incredibly disheartening to be the constant target of these attacks, which were seemingly happening “for no reason” as there was nothing of value left to steal.

“I got the call this morning and I just couldn’t believe it, because it’s only been one week [since the last attack],” Mr Sharma said on Friday.

“We are struggling with things the way they are anyway because of this new variant.

“Business is very slow at the moment, people are freaked out [due to Covid], so this is just the last thing we need.”

In September last year, Oven Kraft was the victim of yet another robbery in which thousands of dollars worth of alcohol and cash was stolen from the small business – making that three attacks in just five months.

In an attempt to prevent being targeted, Mr Sharma has since stopped serving alcohol at his venue, something he said he “shouldn’t have to do”, but he had been “left with no option”.

“I just don’t know what to do,” he said.

“It’s now happening for no reason; we didn’t leave any cash, we pulled down all the alcohol and I am losing my business.

“We haven’t done anything wrong to anybody here, we’ve always been helpful to the community, but unfortunately there are some people out there who are so low in their lives that they’re doing this.”

Mr Sharma said that “only about $100 worth of stock” had been stolen in the most recent break in, but despite having insurance, the expensive excess costs were coming out of his own pocket and taking a toll.

“I got this door and that door fixed last week on the sixth of January; it cost me $1300 to fix those – and now here we are again,” he said.

Mr Sharma thanked Oven Kraft’s regular customers for all their support through the tough times and said he hoped police, who were currently investigating, would catch the culprits responsible.

“The community has always been very supportive here, and if it weren’t for them, we would not still be here,” he said.