WATCH: Table flung over balcony in Airlie cafe break in
THE owners of Village Cafe Restaurant and Bar in Airlie Beach have, over the past 17 years, weathered their fair share of storms from cyclones to most recently COVID.
But Lawrence Topp said the latest incident was "nearly the straw that broke the camel's back".
His wife Shirley Topp got a security alert on her phone about 1am Thursday, alerting her there was movement on the deck at the cafe, which sits next to Magnums Backpackers.
She called her husband, who was on the Sunshine Coast at the time, and the pair logged onto the live feed showing footage from the cafe.
They watched in horror as they saw two women scale the barrier into the premises.
"One was passed out on the floor," Mr Topp said.
"(The other woman) was standing there ripping down the lights from the deck ceiling."
Mr Topp said one of the women then picked up furniture from the cafe and threw it over the deck.
"She laughs her head off and then runs into the corner and gets some more and does it again," he said.
The whole incident was caught on film before one of the women pulled the security camera from the wall.
Mr Topp said it was a devastating blow after a tough year in the hospitality industry.
"We kind of thought that, come COVID and reopening back at the end of June … that there's nothing else that can get thrown at us this year," he said.
"This would (usually) be just another one of those things that frustrate you, but when you add it all up collectively, it's nearly the straw that breaks the camel's back."
Mr and Mrs Topp reported the incident to the police but also took to social media to share their frustrations.
In a matter of hours, they were inundated with messages of support as well as help in identifying the two women.
"I found it heart-warmingly reassuring that we weren't on our own," Mr Topp said.
"It was just morale boosting, teambuilding, energising and wonderful and reassuring that we are in the right place."
Whitsunday Police Sergeant Barry Haran said police are currently investigating the incident.
They are also looking into a possible link between the damage at the Village cafe and damage to an apartment.
He said police have identified the women but have not yet spoken to them.
Mr Topp thanked the community for its support in what had been a difficult 24 hours for the couple.