By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
MARIO’S Bowling and Entertainment Palace chief, Leslie Miller yesterday added his voice to calls for the Government to ban copper exports, adding that such thefts had cost him $150,000-$200,000.
Mr Miller told Tribune Business that his plans to reopen the former Robin Hood store off Tonique Williams-Darling Highway had been hit by “one hell of a setback” after thieves back in July stole six ten-tonne air conditioners.
“Those fellows set us back $150,000-$200,000. That’s one hell of a set-back. We got those people there now doing repairs. It’s just disgusting what happened,” said Mr Miller, PLP MP for Tall Pines.
“Super Value and those had the same problem. We must stop the exportation of copper in this country. This has got to stop. You have fellows out there ruining your place for $1,000, and it ends up causing you $200,000. When does it stop?.”
Super Value president, Rupert Roberts, in a recent interview with this newspaper urged the Government to take “drastic action” against copper thieves after they hit the former City Markets South Beach store, which is now under his ownership, three times.
Disclosing that he was still seeking to open that store pre-Christmas under his Quality Supermarkets brand, Mr Roberts said the theft of copper tubing and wiring from air conditioning (AC) and refrigeration systems made it impossible for staff to work due to 90-degree temperatures.
Mr Roberts noted that the setback was delaying the employment of 75 Bahamians.
According to Mr Miller, reopening the former Robin Hood store would create 65-80 new jobs.Robin Hood closed down back in January, its principal, Sandy Schaefer, telling Tribune Business at the time that he had little choice but to liquidate the company after it suffered a $3.6 million net loss in its last year.
Mr Schaefer said the closure of the retailer’s second store on Prince Charles Drive, a victim of a delayed opening and the ongoing roadworks, had prevented the company from generating a return on its investment in the property - and resulted in the company losing more in its last 12 months than it had collectively earned in the previous four-five years.