The group of youths, believed to be aged between 14 and 17, have been ‘raiding’ shops and using bicycles to make a quick getaway.
One member of staff working in a shop in the city centre told the Limerick Leader they have witnessed the ‘same gang of teens’ repeatedly target shops in ‘ride and steal operations’.
“They are the same group that are always cycling around causing trouble and just acting the maggot. They have repeatedly come into the shop where I work, on their bicycles. They raid the place, about five of them at a time. They knock over things, scream and shout, and then grab things and cycle away.
“A lot of the time, I think they are just doing it for the fun of it, they are taking items that are worthless to them. I think they just want the thrill of the chase.”
CSNA Past President Marcella O’Neill, who runs a shop on Upper William Street said that this is just one of a multitude of problems shop owners and staff are facing.
“There are always problems, this is just the latest one. If it isn’t young kids on bikes, it’s older people, or someone else coming in and causing trouble,” said Ms O’Neill.
“We are working with the guards, dealing with the problems as they come along. The guards are great, they do everything we can to nip everything in the bud,” she added.
Ms O’Neill says that it is incidents like this that make life as a shop owner hard.
“The life of a retailer is a very difficult one. We clear them away, they go away for a while, then they come back again. This is just life as we know it.
“It’s affecting every aspect of our business. It is unfair on our staff, who are being put in danger. It is unfair on our customers, and it is unfair on us. Life is hard enough behind the counter. You put in long hours, your staff put in long hours, you shouldn’t have to put up with this.”
The shop owner believes that this sort of behaviour is a sign of a bigger issue.
“It’s a problem with society itself. You wonder where society is going if these are the children of today. You have to ask yourself, are we letting these people down, if this is the way they are acting if they think that this is ok,” added the shop owner.