THE Tamworth shopping centre owner who threatened to expose footage on social media of three young boys he says vandalised his centre has backed down from his threat – but he’s still backing police punishment for the trio.
Businessman Bruce Read says he is confident the young boys accused of vandalising The Atrium shopping centre at the end of last month will face some penalty for what they did – and because one has apologised for his actions, he’ll back down.
The managing director of the central Tamworth arcade had threatened to expose CCTV footage of the three young boys – two of them believed to be only 10 years old – who allegedly smashed the centre’s rear glass doors on Sunday, September 30.
But yesterday Mr Read admitted he was still feeling overwhelmingly frustrated and he believed at least one boy only faced up to the music because his carer made him, not because he regretted or was sorry about doing it.
Mr Read revealed the boys had been banned from his centre, but police had told him they were confident some form of punishment might also be imposed.
Police have already revealed they know the identity of the boys involved - and that two were named within hours of police viewing the CCTV footage that caught them at The Atrium around the time of the damage.
Mr Read said he would have uploaded the footage to social media sites YouTube and Facebook if the young boys hadn’t come forward and owned up to the crime.
Last Wednesday, the older of the three boys involved went to the centre to see Mr Read and apologised.
It comes after police interviewed the youth and the other young boys thought to be responsible.
Mr Read said a young boy was accompanied by an Aboriginal elder who appeared upset and frustrated by the boy’s behaviour.
Mr Read described the youth as “the ring leader” of the group.
He said while he did apologise, he expressed no remorse.
“He was totally non-repentant,” Mr Read said.
“Unfortunately, respect for anybody and anything is not something that this young person has.”
The businessman has since met with police and he says they told him the young boys already had ban notices issued against them from The Atrium, which had been registered with police.
Mr Read said police could now move forward with some form of prosecution, based on their trespassing.
It is understood the bans do not allow the youths to enter the premises for any reason at any time.
Mr Read said there was no determination of compensation for the damage to the doors, estimated to be about $5000, from either of the meetings.
He said while that was unfortunate, at least one of the youths came forward and police were confident that some form of punishment would be forth coming.