A TAMWORTH businessman is threatening to upload footage onto social media of the young criminals he says vandalised his shopping centre.
CCTV footage from Tamworth arcade, The Atrium, captured three young boys causing $5000 worth of damage to the centre’s rear glass doors last weekend, prompting the arcade’s frustrated managing director, Bruce Read, to threaten to send the images “viral”.
Police are in the process of identifying the boys, but Mr Read says even if they are found and dealt with, there’s little likelihood they will be held accountable.
“They’re under age and in a nowhere land as far as the law is concerned,” Mr Read said.
His solution could get him in some legal strife of his own but he says it’s a necessary risk.
“I like the idea of these complications if it means they get into court,” Mr Read said.
“I have to step outside the law just to make sure they don’t – it’s a catch-22.”
He has given them until next week to come to the centre and “man up” and apologise before he puts the footage on social networking sites YouTube and Facebook and shows it on a big-screen TV in the centre.
“If they’re man enough to destroy property, then they’re man enough to come in here and apologise,” Mr Read said.
“They can apologise in less time than it took to destroy the centre.”
In the footage caught by the centre’s security cameras on Sunday afternoon, the three boys, all believed to be under 14 and described as being of Aboriginal appearance, were seen riding their scooters in the arcade before throwing rocks at one of the automatic rear doors, shattering it completely.
“We know who these young boys are because we have extensive CCTV footage of them,” Mr Read said. He said one of the boys was seen making obscene gestures in the hall while the others were in the toilets and he is prepared to show that, too.
“We will see how they like being humiliated in front of their peers, friends, family and the general public,” Mr Read said.
He says he knows he will face some backlash but he has given the boys the opportunity to take some responsibility for their actions.
“I’m happy to debate it and speak to their parents – I will even help find them (the boys) find employment,” he said.
Oxley Local Area Command Detective Sergeant John Sommers said Mr Read could open himself up to legal complications because, legally, their identities can’t be exposed.
Due to their young ages, they are likely to be dealt with under the Young Offenders Act – state legislation that attempts to keep young offenders out of the courtroom.
He said if the persons were identified, police would certainly be taking action, and they would need to be eligible to be dealt with under the act – or be referred to the court.