Double trouble for teen
Hammer, axe used in Aitkenvale armed robberies
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.