Man­ager pulls knife on rob­ber

Po­lice on the hunt for Newell Hwy ban­dit

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE - By Sophie Burge

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.

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