Dou­ble trou­ble for teen

Ham­mer, axe used in Aitken­vale armed rob­beries

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS McMA­HON

A TEENAGER was ar­rested yes­ter­day af­ter al­legedly rob­bing two busi­nesses within 12 hours armed with a ham­mer and then with an axe.

The Aitken­vale man, 18, has been charged with two counts of armed rob­bery and two counts of en­ter premise with in­tent af­ter the rob­beries at the In­dian Aroma Gro­cery & Spice Shop on Thurs­day night and Pet HQ yes­ter­day morn­ing, both on Ross River Rd.

The al­leged of­fender was caught about 10am af­ter he was fol­lowed to a home from Pet HQ by some on­look­ers who saw the al­leged in­ci­dent.

Aroma Gro­cery & Spice Shop owner Babu Po­tu­nak said it was a nor­mal Thurs­day, un­til he was threat­ened with a ham­mer and told to hand over all the money in his till.

“A bloke came in wear­ing a jumper and hold­ing a freezer bag, he went around the shop as if he was a cus­tomer and I asked him if he needed help and he told me he was brows­ing,” Mr Po­tu­nak said.

“I think he was go­ing around the shop to make sure no one was around be­fore he threat­ened me with a ham­mer.

“He came and he stood here, in front of the reg­is­ter, took out the ham­mer from his bag and pointed to­wards me and said ‘ I’m se­ri­ous mate, just give me the money’.

“I thought it was bet­ter to give him the money than get hurt, so I took out the till and gave him the money and he just left.”

Mr Po­tu­nak said some­thing needed to be done to stop busi­nesses be­ing tar­geted.

“I wasn’t scared, and the rea­son was be­cause this has been go­ing on for a long time now, all around the town, it has be­come the norm,” he said.

“It’s hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where, ev­ery day, ev­ery week, if it’s not a busi­ness, it’s res­i­den­tial.

“They are af­ter the money, th­ese peo­ple are on drugs, they just want your money, and if you don’t give them what they want, any­thing could hap­pen.

“It puts a lot of men­tal pres­sure on us, es­pe­cially when the busi­nesses in town are go­ing so well, if some­thing like this hap­pens more fre­quently it sends the wrong sig­nal to in­vestors and peo­ple want­ing to come to town.”

Townsville CIB of­fi­cer in charge de­tec­tive Se­nior Ser- geant Fred Starr said no one was hurt in the rob­beries and the al­leged of­fender got away with un­spec­i­fied cash.

“The trauma of hav­ing a ham­mer waved in your face and de­mand­ing money is quite men­ac­ing,” Sen- Sgt Starr said.

“The dam­age that can be done, even with house­hold stuff like a ham­mer, is quite sub­stan­tial. The trauma be­ing associated with some­one go­ing into a shop and de­mand­ing any­thing while be­ing armed is con­cern­ing.”

The al­leged of­fender will face court this morn­ing.

THREAT­ENED: Rob­bery vic­tim Babu Po­tu­nak.

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