Fishing store robbery leaves owners reeling

A broken door at the scene of a burglary at Compleat Angler, Dandenong. 220706_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Gabriella Payne

A group of thieves are on the run after damaging property and stealing fishing equipment from the Compleat Angler recreational sporting store on Princes Highway, Dandenong in the early hours of Sunday morning.

An allegedly stolen car was seen arriving at the store at 12.40am on Sunday 8 November and was used to rip the front doors from the business.

The culprits then entered the store, smashing glass cabinets and stealing a number of fishing reels, tackle and waders before fleeing the scene in the same vehicle.

Glenys Cooper, owner of Compleat Angler Dandenong said that the robbery was “just devastating”.

“We’ve been gutted as a retail store for so long with Covid,” Ms Cooper said, “so it’s been a hard enough year without having to have something like this [happen] as well, on top of it.”

The team at Compleat Angler had only just reopened the store 10 days before the burglars struck, having been forcibly shut down for months during Melbourne’s strict coronavirus lockdown.

Ms Cooper said police are currently investigating the crime and that some promising leads have been made, with the help of CCTV footage, a witness statement and the discovery of the burnt-out vehicle hours after the robbery.

“We’ve cleaned up and now it’s just a matter of going through the insurance process, which again is just an unnecessary stress going into Christmas when you’re trying to condense five months of trading into five weeks,” Ms Cooper said.

Like many businesses in Melbourne, the Compleat Angler team were excited to have finally reopened again after a tough year relying on online sales and remote work and feel that this burglary is yet another blow.

“It’s just unfortunate that people feel that they need to have my doors and my reels more than I do,” Ms Cooper said.

Compleat Angler Dandenong remains open for business and encourages anyone with information about the burglary to contact local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.