McDonald's is rolling out a state-of-the art security system across Australia that douses fleeing robbers with an invisible, synthetic DNA spray in attempt to stop criminals seeing their fast food restaurants as a soft target.
The move comes as police ramp up their patrols of local McDonald's restaurants after a spate of robberies across Sydney during the Christmas and New Year period.
A McDonald's spokeswoman said the company will increase the use of 'SelectaDNA' in stores all over the country after a successful trial in their six busiest Sydney restaurants was launched in January last year.
According to the SelectaDNA website, spray heads are fitted at the entry points of premises which, on activation, emit a burst of solution onto the offenders. The solution contains a UV tracer which is invisible to the naked eye but will show up under UV light. It also has a unique DNA code, linking the thieves to the specific crime scene in question.
Advertisement "It's a great deterrent," the McDonald's spokeswoman said. "During the trial the restaurants experienced zero robberies and reduced instances of anti-social behaviour.
"We have a wide array of security measures in place to ensure that our team members are kept safe at all times, such as intensive training, strict cash handling protocols, CCTV and consultative working relationships with local police," she said.
Police do not believe three recent McDonald's robberies are linked, but they will regularly patrol stores and all outlets they deem to be soft targets.
Two McDonald's in south west Sydney, Narellan and Liverpool, were hit on December 28 and January 2, while on December 29, the Caringbah restaurant in Sydney's south was robbed.
Two males wearing balaclavas entered the Narellan store through a rear door armed with firearms and a knife before threatening staff and fleeing with cash, police said.
Once inside the Liverpool premises, three men, who had their faces covered, walked behind the counter and threatened the manager, police said. In Caringbah, a man threatened staff with a knife before demanding cash, police said.
Liverpool Inspector Daniel Doherty said there is no evidence to suggest a link.
"We have stepped up our patrols in relation to McDonald's. There are a number in the area and we regularly send police to speak to whoever is on duty, so we have a presence there.
"All fast food outlets and late night businesses like bottle shops or petrol stations can be considered soft targets and we regularly send police to these venues to minimise their risk," he said.
Inspector Doherty laughed off suggestions police got free McDonald's burgers in return.
"That's a complete furphy. A while ago there was a corporate discount but police don't get McDonald's for free. There is a link because of the nature of shift work. Often McDonald's is the only place open and we go there as part of efforts to reduce soft targets being robbed," he said.
Camden Inspector Brian Pedersen said they regularly patrol a number of McDonald's in their area.
"It's mainly to prevent anti-social behaviour and the occasional issue we have with people affected by alcohol," he said.
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