The story of a bag snatch in the CBD


p2327-Meagan-Merritt-2By MEAGAN MERRITT
I walked into Rocky’s Pizza and ordered the large pizza at 9.45pm. I was told it would take about 15 minutes.
The tables and chairs inside the shop were all stacked up for closing time.
I would have liked to sit inside the shop as the time was quite late, but sat outside, on the chair to the right of the doorway.
I placed my green, red, white and black handbag bought in Shanghai, decorated with a bird and a tree, on the brown square table to the right of me.
The handbag was about 30 centimeters away from me, to the right side of my hand. As five large Australian men passed me, the thought crossed my mind, should I hang on to my handbag?
No, it will be alright, I thought.
Then along came two thin, tall, light-brown Indigenous males who to me looked to be teenagers.
They were dressed in maroon and grey T-shirts with pale grey shorts, flat Kmart looking shoes, with socks.
They looked unsuspicious and were well dressed and groomed. I thought to myself again, should I hang on to my handbag?
Again I thought, nah, it will be alright.
The boys lined themselves up directly in front of me, facing the street toward the council chambers, then snatched my handbag and ran toward the taxi rank across the road, fast as lightening.
I ran inside the pizza shop and shouted: “My handbag has been stolen, my handbag has been stolen”.
Immediately the manager walked outside with me.
Three middle aged looking Indigenous adults, a man and two women, came over from the taxi rank and told me the boys were from Hermansburg, gave me their names and where they were staying that night.
I waved to a policeman who was turning right from Gregory Terrace into Todd Street, in a twin-cab paddy wagon.
He did a U-turn and parked outside Rocky’s Pizza. He was a sergeant.
The three Indigenous people gave him the names of the teenagers and the address where they would be staying that night. The police officer nodded his head and said: “Yes, we have those boys on our list.”
Then two undercover detectives also pulled up outside Rocky’s Pizza. They heard what the three Indigenous people told the sergeant.
Then two more uniformed policemen drove up and they took over the handling of my case, asking me “where was your car parked?” and “does your husband have a second key?” to which I replied “not that I can remember”.
They said to me: “You will need to get this car off the street. Those boys will come and click away to see which car the key will open. Then you will lose your car.”
I agreed to make a statement in writing while a recovery truck driver loaded my car on a trailer.
I asked the policemen: “Where do you think my handbag is right now?”
They said: “It is probably in the Todd River. They may have taken the cash and tossed the bag.”
The policemen told me that they would “drive around to the given address that evening to find the boys, and that if the boys weren’t there that night that they would drive around to the address the following morning to find the boys.”
The bag had inside it: Up to $3000 worth of jewellery, including an engagement ring of 13 years of marriage worth $1200, one rose gold bracelet worth $1200, my day watch, a Pulsar worth $180, and an evening DKNY watch worth $200.
The wallet was brand new, bought from Sank at half price for $35. It held every card including both mine and my husband’s bank cards, thankfully with no money on either. I only had $15 cash in the wallet. A key ring had my house keys and the car key on it.
I had all my locks changed at home.
Since filing the report that evening, I have walked into the police station three times asking about the whereabouts of my handbag.
Each time the response was “haven’t found boys, they must be out bush”.
The constable responsible phoned me two weeks ago to inform me that they expected the boys to appear in court the following week.
I was told on the night of the theft that I would be required in court if the boys did not confess to stealing the handbag.
The theft occurred on March 16. That is seven weeks ago. I still have no idea what happened with my property nor with the boys.
We asked the police if they wished to comment and they said they would provide information on Monday. When it comes to hand we will update this report.
PHOTO: The writer in the location where the theft took place.
UPDATE 10am May 10: Police say investigations are continuing.


  1. When people go to Melbourne and Sydney or overseas they are told of these things. What makes Alice Springs different?

  2. While unfortunate, don’t you think if you were carrying that amount of valuables in the handbag, you would be a bit more security conscious?

  3. Peter there was a time in the Territory when you did not lock your home, did not wear a seat belt, could take eight kids to the driving in a small car and go to the pub with your dog! Times change for better or worse, but that is life!

  4. @ Evelyne: Fair call. There was also a time when police used to at least attempt to solve crime.
    I am actually shocked that this happened. Going through some stuff on my desk this morning (I am not good at filing), I found a print-out of an ABC news story from January 31, 2014:
    “Chief Minister Adam Giles has defended the government’s move to close the Youth Hub, saying Alice Springs is ‘completely cleaned up’.
    “Chief Minister Adam Giles says Alice Springs has completely changed since the CLP came into power and youth crime is not the issue it used to be.
    “Property crime is as low as it ever has been … we’ve got our mandatory alcohol treatment facilities, the town’s completely cleaned up,” he said.
    There was also a time when some people used to believe such things.


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