Staff at Shepparton's TJM 4x4 have been left with a hefty clean-up bill after offenders ram-raided the store in the middle of the night and stole more than $11 000 worth of stock.
Head of sales Travis Carter said the Melbourne Rd store was targeted about 11.40 pm on Monday, with CCTV footage showing two men pulling up out the front of the business in a white tray-back ute.
“They've rammed the front door with the tray and reversed straight through the front door,” Mr Carter said.
“They then ran in and did a bit of a smash and grab — they were in and out fairly quickly.”
Mr Carter said CCTV footage showed the men grabbing some stock from inside the store before quickly fleeing the scene.
The offenders left the business with more than $11 000 worth of stock including a car fridge, winches and driving lights.
“It's definitely disappointing especially being on such a main road you think you're fairly safe,” Mr Carter said.
“With everything going on with COVID-19 and being a small business it's hard enough as it is, then something like this happens — it's not great.”
Mr Carter said the store's security guard was notified of the incident when it occurred, attending the business and calling police.
Shepparton Criminal Investigation Unit detectives confirmed they were investigating the incident.
Despite the setback, TJM 4x4 was open for business as usual on Tuesday, with staff determined not to let the ram-raid affect regular trading.
“People need to be looking out for small businesses not breaking into them,” Mr Carter said.
“It's just timing really, we’re trying to find our feet at the moment and everything has been heading in the right direction but then you get little hiccups like this which isn’t nice.”
Investigators are keen to speak to any witnesses or anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area at the time.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au