By Rhonda Dredge
The spatial poetics of Flinders Lane were working against Saff as he left his hairdressing salon in the Port Phillip Arcade one sunny morning a month ago.
The well-known barber met his mates as he often does for a morning coffee at the corner of Centre Place and put down his backpack while lighting a smoke.
At 8.40 am a thief approached the barber and grabbed his blue Roman backpack, escaping with $600 in cash, despite the fact that the spot was covered by two CCTV cameras.
A camera on the City Library across the street caught the thief in its footage from the waist down and another at the top end of the lane captured Saff chatting before the incident but missed the vital moment.
“A police officer saw three people walking towards Swanston St and everyone scatter but that’s all,” Saff said, who also lost his mobile phone, salon keys and a watch.
“It was a one-off backpack. It had my whole life in it,” he said.
The mystery is still preoccupying Saff’s coffee regulars. Electrician Robert Evans has a picture taken from CCTV. The thief was wearing shorts and white runners.
They suspect he escaped up a narrow passage in the Emirates building. However, footage from their cameras has been unable to provide any additional evidence.
It was a quiet morning and not much was happening in the street yet no one witnessed the bag snatch. Unfortunately for Saff, this was just the second time in 25 years that he had cash inside it.
He had withdrawn the funds in case he needed them for his son’s twenty-first.
“If people are made aware of the situation they will be more alert in Flinders Lane,” Mr Evans said.