Police are urging convenience stores to be more vigilant at night, and to take particular care with window displays and bright lights, which appear to beckon people in. The call comes after a 7-Eleven's automatic doors opened at about 2 o'clock this morning and the store was subsequently ransacked and the contents of the till and cigarettes were taken at knifepoint.
“This robbery is made all the more sickening by the fact that the 7-Eleven had only recently installed one of those new 'Pay-Wave' EFTPOS facilities, as well as just getting a Lotto franchise and selling train tickets.” said a police spokesman.
The 7-Eleven was going about its usual late-night business of selling cigarettes, unidentifiable microwave carbohydrates and assorted sugary snacks to mostly intoxicated customers. The interior of the store was brightly lit, and it had clear display signs on the outside reminding passers-by that it was “open all hours”. It was also, controversially, equipped with automatic doors, allowing simple entry by anyone within a metre. The store’s owner was several kilometres away at home in bed, having left it in the care of a seventeen year old employee.
At about 2am the store was entered by a man wearing a hoodie and carrying a large knife. The attendant was forced to hand over approximately a hundred dollars in cash plus about six hundred dollars worth of cigarettes. Several of the store's shelves were tipped over and other items were smashed as the suspect left the store.
“We remind convenience stores that they need to do more to keep themselves safe; this particular 7-Eleven contained cash and other valuable commodities and was open to the public 24 hours, in an area well-known for its population of hoody-wearing people. We know many other convenience stores do this, thinking, they’ll be safe. They must take more care or they could be seen to be inviting a similar attack.”
Police released CCTV footage of the suspect and urge anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers.
While what happened to the 7-Eleven last Thursday night is shocking and no convenience store should have to suffer that kind of attack, the question must be asked: If you owned a convenience store, would you let it sit there all day and all night, openly inviting anyone in off the street?
The world is a dangerous place, particularly late at night. Studies suggest that as many as two out of three late-night stores will suffer some kind of robbery or theft in their lifetime. We need to teach our convenience stores and petrol stations to keep themselves safe. Automatic doors, bright lights, and microwaved hotdogs are temptation enough. But when you add in the lure of a seventeen year old attendant, most likely a foreign student with poor English skills, behind a counter which contains a cash register and cigarettes, you start to wonder, who really is to blame for what appears to have been an impulsive act, possibly committed under the disinhibiting influence of alcohol or other drugs?
Thursday night's event was more than just a tragedy: it was a warning and a lesson to all convenience stores.
STAR FOOTBALLER INTERVIEWED BY POLICE OVER 7-ELEVEN ROBBERY.
Team mates, club officials and the League have rallied around star winger Simon Moyle after he was charged with Armed Robbery and other offences by detectives from the City Central Robbery Unit.
His club released a statement to the media early this evening:
“Simon is a key part of our organisation and great team player, with a loving wife and three children. Obviously as the matter is now before the courts we are unable to comment on the allegations, although we note that the 7-Eleven invited him in through its automatic doors and police weren't called until nearly half an hour after the alleged offence.
“We wish to remind people that Simon is innocent until proven guilty and this is a very sensitive time for all concerned. We have no intention of suspending or taking any other action against Simon unless and until these matters are fully determined by the courts.”
The League reinforced the club's message about the sensitivity of these matters, pointing to its recently-updated Respect For Late-Night Venues policy. The League chief told gathered reporters that “These matters often come down to a misunderstanding over property rights and it is important that players are fully aware of their responsibility to pay for items and to respect that contract whenever they enter any late-night venue.”
Images of the 7-Eleven in question have been circulated on social media and fan sites of the football club, with derogatory comments, such as “Open All Hours Means Just That”, and “Asking for it”. Fans of Moyle have been staging a candle-light vigil near the store, chanting “shame” at it. A spokesman for the vigil told this reporter “Just look at how many people go in and out of this place at all hours, now it's decided to make this disgusting allegation against a famous sportsman, just for its own publicity. If it didn't want to be allegedly robbed maybe it shouldn't just be sitting there wide-open, waving its Slurpee machine for everyone to see.”
A past player has been “flamed” on twitter by 7-Eleven activists for tweeting “Yet another (alleged) victim lets a guy in and (allegedly) now that it's feeling a bit embarrassed is alleging that he did the wrong thing. He didn't go in there to sign autographs and the (alleged) 'victim' knew that.”
Some Convenience Store activists have been calling for Moyle to be suspended by either his club or the League, until the charges are finalised in court. “We’re always being told these players are role models, and it’s time the League put its money where its mouth is as far its Respect And Responsibility Charter is concerned. Our fear is that the victim in this matter will be ignored in the face of the historic Armed Robbery culture of male sport.”
SPORT COLUMN BY RETIRED PLAYER
No one who hasn’t played footy at the highest level can possibly understand the pressures put on young blokes. Thrust into the limelight as teenagers, surrounded by high-performance managers, journos and fans, they hit the field on the weekend and work their guts out in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans, then cool down and go back to training for next week’s match, ten hours a day. Their every move on and off the field is reported, photographed, analysed.
Every week, most of them aren’t just playing to help win the game, they’re playing to keep their spot in the side. The pressure, as I said, can’t be understood if you haven’t lived through it.
So it’s saddening when a player allegedly lets loose some of that pressure and suddenly the whole world is baying for his blood. Put yourself in Moyle-o’s shoes for a minute: imagine that every time you walk down the street someone’s coming up to you putting a free Slurpee in your hand and giving you a voucher for two Krispy Kremes For The Price Of One.
Now imagine yourself all fired up after a great win and a couple of celebratory beers with your mates, and you see yet another 7-Eleven standing before you, the fridges and the pie warmer lit up like Christmas, an ATM humming in the corner.
What would you do? Would you walk past quietly, ignoring the offer, “controlling” your “savage urges”, (like all the Convenience-anistas are suggesting he should have)? or would you walk in and take what you thought you were owed?
Well? What would you do?
@BenPobjie tweets “Jeez I could really go a Slurpee and four cartons of Winnie Blues” after Moyle plays a blistering first half, then spends the next three hours blocking people.
7-ELEVEN ASKS FOR PRIVACY
The 7-Eleven at the heart of the Simon Moyle controversy has asked the media to allow it to try to get on with its business in relative peace. “Many of our regular customers have been wonderful in their support, but many more have been frightened away due to all the publicity.
“We just want to get on with business and prepare to give evidence whenever the case comes to court.”
This reporter was fortunate to do the last interview with the 7-Eleven and was allowed in to see how the store was coping after the both the incident itself and the ensuing media storm. The shelves have been repaired, but the damage still clearly shows. Sadly, the Lotto franchise has been rescinded: “they didn’t give us any reason, they just said something about us no longer being in line with their corporate image.” The Slurpee machine is now unable to be seen from the street and the petrol bowsers are in the process of being dismantled and taken away.
As I leave I notice a framed, hand-written letter that just says “Be Strong. There are some of us on your side”, with an indecipherable signature. Who gave you that? I ask.
“He didn’t want me to say.”
In the week since I wrote this, this piece by Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay was published in the Herald Sun.
Which is greatly encouraging, except when you consider that this was on the Daily Telegraph the same day.