By Gabriella Payne
When local cafe owner Amit Sharma’s phone rang this morning, his heart sank.
Mr Sharma, who owns and operates Oven Kraft, a beloved Pakenham cafe on Henry Road, said that the past 18 months had been a huge struggle for hospitality businesses throughout Melbourne, and the last thing he needed was to wake up to the news that his cafe had been broken into overnight – but that’s the sad reality he faced.
“It’s just sad and shameful that this has happened,” Mr Sharma said.
“This is the sixth lockdown since I bought this business [back in March 2020], and we are already hanging in there tightly because of this, so it’s just really sad.”
Mr Sharma said that thieves had smashed the glass front door to Oven Kraft at some point during the night, before entering the building and stealing thousands of dollars worth of alcohol and cash.
“I received a call from one of our customers at seven o’clock this morning and they told me that the glass front door was broken and that I might want to come in and check, because they suspected it was a break in,” he said.
“I came in straight away at seven o’clock, saw the front door was damaged and after entering, discovered that a lot of booze was stolen from our bar area, which equates to probably $3,000 – it was all expensive scotch and whiskies, they were all gone.”
“And unfortunately, normally we don’t leave any cash, but apparently there was some cash left in the till as well last night, roughly around $700 – $800, and that was stolen too,” he said.
Not only did the thieves get away with plenty of alcohol and money, but they ripped out the till in the process, leaving a trail of destruction behind for Mr Sharma to clean up.
“I’ve got a broken till now which needs to be fixed, plus the glass there – it was all smashed, there was glass everywhere.”
Senior Detective Collin Beard from the Cardinia Criminal Investigations Unit said that the police were currently investigating the incident, but noted that there had been a number of similar break-ins in the Pakenham area recently and warned businesses to stay on alert.
Mr Sharma said that he had provided the police with his CCTV footage which he hoped would help catch the culprits, and he hoped that the thieves would be dealt their fair share of “karma” for their reckless actions.
“We just want them to know that we are strong and we will stay strong,” he said.
“The community has been very supportive of us, they have always been, ever since we took over this business and they still are to this day, so we thank them for sticking by us, and we will overcome this.”
Works are underway to repair the damage as soon as possible, and Oven Kraft remains open for business as usual, so if you’re after a coffee, make sure you pop in and show your support!