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Businesses tired of being targeted by Riverside burglars

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A GROUP of business owners in Cardiff have voiced concerns about the response of police to a string of burglaries.

Several business owners on Cowbridge Road East, Riverside, say they are frustrated by the large number of burglaries taking place in their area.

Rajendra Kupperi, 35, owner of Vivo Latino on Cowbridge Road East, said his restaurant had been broken into twice in the last eight months.

“The first time they broke in they took the hard drive with the footage from the CCTV.  They came to the bar. They snapped the box and took the till,” he said.                                                              

The burglars took a £100 float from the till and made off with a DVR worth about £700. Mr Kupperi said the till cost a further £200 to replace.

He reported the burglary to the police. He said he was told fingerprints were found linking a suspect to the crime. However, after a few weeks the case was closed.

Mr Kupperi said he installed a stainless steel door at the back of the restaurant at the cost of £1,000. Despite this, burglars broke in for a second time in September. They again broke into the till and left with a £100 float.

The crime was reported but he said that again no-one was found and the case was closed.

Mr Kupperi asked a local PACT meeting: “Is there anything we can do to create some sort of hesitation in these guys? What if they had known someone was watching?”

Asked how he felt about the police response, he said: “All we can do is give the facts and figures and people can draw their own conclusions.”

Mr Kupperi raised the issue with Riverside Labour councillor Iona Gordon.

“He and business owners were disappointed that the police did not come back to them about how their enquiries were going,” she said.

“This left the businesses feeling that burglaries were not being investigated properly. There is CCTV coverage of people sawing through rear entrances, and locally they feel it is the same people,” said Coun Gordon.

Imad Jhenimi, 36, was manager of Sultan Grill House on Cowbridge Road East until it was taken over by a new owner earlier this month. He said a burglary there towards the end of August was caught on CCTV.

“They came in the back side. They took nearly half an hour to take the door off. They broke the till and took money,” he said.

He said the burglary was reported to the police.

“It’s been a few months and nothing has happened,” he said.

Mr Jhenimi said he saw a man acting suspiciously earlier in the restaurant.

“I was in the kitchen. I came out and he was looking around. He then asked for food. He had a big bag,” he said.

Another business owner on the street, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they installed steel shutters and a steel door costing over £2,000 after being burgled last year. They informed the police of a burglary but no-one was caught.

When the business was hit again in July the criminals made off with £100 and broke the steel door.

The business owner said: “The second time I did not even bother to call the police to be honest. My feeling about the police is they are not really bothered.

“We are not happy with the way in which they are dealing with this case. They should put more effort into dealing with these crimes that affect people’s lives.”

They added that they thought there was a group of criminals hanging around the area watching the businesses.

But not all business owners in the area are unhappy with the police’s response.

Steve Chambers, 38, is owner of the restaurant Time and Beef on Cowbridge Road East, which was burgled late last year. He said: “The police did what they could on my occasion.

“They have only got limited resources really. It’s easy to criticise the police but there is not really anything they can do unless they catch someone in the act.”

Peter Constantinou, 48, owner of Constantinou Kings barber shop on Kings Road, has been burgled twice in the last year. He said: “The police were quite good to be honest. They tried to chase up some CCTV footage.”

Roberto Raffaelli, 54, is the owner of the Italian restaurant La Lupa on Cowbridge Road East.

“It’s not anything new. We have been broken into twice in 25 years,” he said. “It’s probably normal.”

The Cardiffian has called South Wales Police several times and left a message asking for a comment but with no response. Several of the area’s PCSOs have been called and messages have been left but no response has been received.

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