3 November 2023

Thieves sprung in early morning bakery break-in

| Sarah Martin
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Cooktown Bakery owner Jana Whittaker with the glass door that was smashed during a break in. Photo: Sarah Martin.

Two thieves have been caught in the act by an early morning baker as they burnt, hacked and cut their way into the Cooktown Bakery office in the early hours of Wednesday (1 November).

Bakery owner Jana Whittaker said, thankfully, the baker’s arrival for his 3 am shift interrupted the two young men, dressed in black, before they could gain access to her office.

“He pulled up out the front and saw a couple of shadows running across. It was so close, quite dramatic actually,” Ms Whittaker said.

The pair ran through an undercover children’s play area at the side of the bakery, leaping over a tall fence into the neighbouring caravan park, with the second would-be thief nearly getting caught.

“The second guy was pretty large and had a bit of difficulty getting over the fence,” she said.

“But they got away and my baker chased them down the back.”

The thieves made off with the bakery tip jar containing $60, which was going to buy staff Lotto tickets, as well as a donation tin for the Cape York Folk Club, and left a smashed hole in an internal door.

“As they were scaling the fence, they dropped [the Cape York Folk Club tin], so we managed to retrieve that,” Ms Whittaker said.

“Probably give them another half an hour and they would have gotten into the door to my office, then who knows what they would have taken, maybe the computer.”

Ms Whittaker said it was her third break in since moving to the Charlotte Street location opposite the Cooktown Hotel three years ago.

“It’s one a year, and it’s much the same time of year each time. I’m not sure if it’s mango madness, but I’m a bit over it,” she said.

Ms Whittaker spent hours cleaning broken glass and preparing the bakery to open as usual at 6 am following the break in.

“You have to trade as usual. That day I had multiple orders and the community relies on us.”

Cooktown Police acting sergeant Aaron Stanley said police had identified two people of interest in relation to the break in, and urged the community to contact Crime Stoppers with any information.

Act Sgt Stanley confirmed police had recovered items at the bakery that were forming part of the ongoing investigation.

“An assessment will be made in relation to the items to see if fingerprinting can be conducted,” he said.

To report information regarding the break-in, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and quote report number QP2301829507.

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