The owner of a Freshwater convenience store has broken his silence after a spate of break-ins.

Sydney First Convenience Store Freshwater co-owner Abdulrahman Shublaq (image below) says local teens have become increasingly brazen in their attempts to break in and rob his store at Moore Road, Freshwater.

The owner of a Freshwater convenience store has broken his silence after a spate of break-ins.

Known by the nickname ‘Evan’ to many of his customers, Mr Shublaq says the problem of teens trying to break into the store when they are closed, or shoplifting when it is open, has become worse over the past six months.

“Everything was fine for the past couple of years, but in the past year, and the past six months in particular, there are teenagers all over the place and we’ve had a number try to break in when we are closed.

“In the past three weeks, I’ve had several teens walk in trying to just pick up things off the shelf and hide them in their clothes, or grab something and just bolt. There was a group of teenagers who were here that one of my customers identified as troublemakers.

“I don’t know if they live in the area, if they have parents around. A lot of them come in, they’re a little rude, they take stuff, they try and negotiate a free item and if I refuse, they act insulted. It’s usually teens around 15-years-old, both boys and girls,” said Mr Shublaq.

Mr Shublaq said an attempt to break into his shop this week in the early hours of Sunday morning, 07 January (video above) was just the latest in a series of attempts, some successful.

“In mid-October [2023] we had a teenage boy rob the store. He took his time and smashed the back door with a rock. According to one of our neighbours, the same day, they attempted to break into another shop down the road. They weren’t successful there, but they managed to climb around and they came to my shop.

“They actually broke in twice, once on a Monday, then another time on a Friday. We ended up catching him because there was a lot of them hanging around, so it was easy for us to spot them. Some of our customers help us identify them,” said Mr Shublaq.

The owner of a Freshwater convenience store has broken his silence after a spate of break-ins.

Sydney First Convenience Store has four locations on the Northern Beaches, at Freshwater, Mona Vale, Newport and Avalon Beach. Mr Shublaq acknowledged their stores are a magnet for teens, with a large range of sweet treats and sugary drinks.

“We also had an incident at Mona Vale where three teens came in and tried to rob the store, I was there when it happened. They tried to take some cigarettes. I threw all three of them out and called the cops. The cops caught them almost straightaway. We are facing this again and again,” said Mr Shublaq.

Until the ban that came into effect on 01 January 2024, the four stores also sold vapes. A number of customers (all adults in their thirties) were observed being told by Mr Shublaq the products were no longer available while the Northern Beaches Advocate was in the Freshwater store.

Mr Shublaq pointed out he believed the recent spate of criminal activity was out of character with the Freshwater area.

“I haven’t really witnessed anything like that before in Freshie [Freshwater] and I was here for a good six-to-eight months before that, it was great,” said Mr Shublaq.

The owner of a Freshwater convenience store has broken his silence after a spate of break-ins.

Curl Curl Ward Councillor and former senior NSW Police officer David Walton said concerns had been raised about antisocial behaviour in the area.

David Walton

David Walton

“I have had reports from residents about increases in alcohol-related antisocial behaviour around Freshwater, particularly by young people at night. I will be raising this with the local Police Area Command.

“Parents need to have conversations with their children, whether teens or younger adults. Parents have a responsibility to ensure their children know right from wrong and are respectful to the rest of the community.

“Behaviours are emerging that are a bad cultural issue in Australia. We want a culture that is respectful towards community, other people’s welfare and their property,” said Cr Walton.

Your say

If you are a resident or local business owner on the Northern Beaches who has been a victim of vandalism, abuse or theft, share your experience with the Northern Beaches Advocate.

Images: Sydney First Convenience Store, Northern Beaches Advocate
Video: Sydney First Convenience Store

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