Manager pulls knife on robber
Police on the hunt for Newell Hwy bandit
A brave Tocumwal business employee turned the tables on a brazen, knife-wielding robber on Saturday afternoon.
Police are still searching for a man — believed to be aged in his 20s — who allegedly produced a large knife and calmly asked the Tocumwal Pie Shed manager to empty his cash till about 2.30pm at the Newell Hwy business.
But in an unexpected turn of events, the manager, who has asked not to be named, produced his own knife — a much smaller version to that of the would-be bandit — and refused to hand over any money.
To the manager’s surprise, the man turned around and fled the scene.
‘‘I can hardly remember picking up the knife, but once it was in my hand I remember telling him to get out of the shop,’’ the manager said.
‘‘To my surprise, he did. He just walked out; he didn’t run to his getaway car, which was parked out of sight in front of the shop . . . I rang 000.
‘‘Initially he was sitting casually on one of the outside tables while he waited for other customers to leave.
‘‘That was when he wandered into the shop with a neoprene biker mask covering his face and a knife in his hand.
‘‘He was a pretty big bloke, around 175cm, clean shaven and had a very solid build and was wearing a green hoodie.
‘‘I found it quite unusual that he seemed almost calm and dopey when he asked for the cash.
‘‘I think we just both scared each other which caused him to leave the shop.’’
Deniliquin Local Area Command Detective Sergeant Miles Rogers said yesterday that police were still searching for the man and asking for assistance from the public.
Police could not say whether he may be a local man, or a traveller on the popular Newell Hwy route.
‘‘The information we received was very limited in terms of a description of the man and his vehicle, and with no forensic evidence nothing has surfaced at all in our inquiries,’’ he said.
Det Sgt Rogers said while he was pleased the robbery was averted and no one was harmed, he warned people to act with caution if ever faced with a similar situation to the shop’s manager.
‘‘Police advise people to act very cautiously with every reaction when confronted with situations of robbers, armed or not,’’ he said.
‘‘If you’re placed in a situation of danger, it’s going to be the circumstances in every case that determine your reaction, so be careful.
‘‘An offender could panic and harm you or those around you.’’
For the shop’s manager, Saturday’s incident has left its mark. He now plans to install security cameras.
‘‘My heart was racing and my legs were shaking,’’ the Pie Shed manager said of the confrontation.
‘‘It wasn’t until the next day that the shock really sunk in.
‘‘In 15 years of business nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
‘‘Looking back at it, his knife was much bigger than mine.
‘‘It was lucky no one was injured and I hope it never happens again.’’
Anyone with information in relation to the incident is urged to phone police or call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
People with information can remain anonymous, say police.
The Pie Shed on the Newell Hwy at Tocumwal.