Saturday 22 July 2017

'They always check in with me' - Shop owners terrorised by thugs praise locals who helped save their business

Salem Habeeb Photo: Steve Humphreys
Salem Habeeb Photo: Steve Humphreys
CCTV footage of teenagers stealing from the store
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Two brothers who opened a city centre newsagents over seven months ago say locals have helped save their business.

Salem Habeeb and his brother Ronak Bhavsar had their XL Stop & Shop on Parnell Street robbed almost every day.

Now, Habeeb (37) says thefts have decreased due to locals rallying behind them.

As seen in the CCTV footage below, groups of teenagers walk into the shop and stuff items of food up their tops in an attempt to rob them.

“In the beginning, I got a lot of trouble in my own shop. Now things are improving because locally a lot of people support me.

“They come down and always check with me and how I’m getting on and almost everyone knows me now.”

During one incident in the summer, Habeeb was hit with an iron bar after he stood up to a teenager who tried to steal from his shop.

He chased the teen who struck him across the head with an iron bar he lifted from a nearby site.

He claims a teenager who robbed the shop a month ago threatened to stab his brother Ronak, who has is now working in an XL branch in Dundrum.

While there have been some terrifying incidents, Habeeb says things are much better.

“Things have improved because of the local people who have supported me but it’s still tough, I’m a family man and I’ve four children. My partner in work is also a family man too. We are both trying our best to run our business.

“There is a lot of crime in Parnell Street and I think the gardaí should regularly patrol and check what is going on and put up more public cameras.”

Mr Habeeb previously worked as a caterer in St James's Hospital before deciding to open up his own business earlier this year.

Many of his friends also have stores open in the Parnell Street area and he says they are targeted in the same way.

"Kids come in and take stuff in front of me and they say, 'You can't touch us'. I threaten to ring the guards and they say, 'The guards can't do anything, I'm only 17'.”

A garda spokesperson said thefts at their shop had been reported and are under investigation.

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