Robbery terror in Emerald
A SHAKEN Emerald shop owner robbed by a knife-wielding teenager has described the experience as “very frightening”.
Country Cottage gifts & homewares owner Shelley McMaster said she was apprehensive to be back at work yesterday, but happy the offender had been caught and charged by police.
“You just don’t expect that sort of thing in a gift shop,” she said.
“I didn’t expect him to pull a knife but fortunately I had an excellent reaction and a quick escape.”
Senior Sergeant Graeme Reeves said witnesses suggested the 18-year-old male, dressed in jeans, a black shirt and joggers, had been acting suspiciously in the small Hospital Rd retail centre prior to entering the shop shortly before 3.25pm on Monday.
He produced a knife with a 20cm blade and demanded the contents of the till.
“He told me I needed to give him the lot, so I told him to take it all,” said Ms McMasters who admitted she ran screaming from the building through the back entrance.
The offender made off on foot with $500.
“Police made inquiries with numerous witnesses surrounding the shop and as a result of information received, an 18-year-old was detained for questioning after being found at his home address on Emerald’s south side,” Snr Sgt Reeves said.
“The male has assisted police with their inquiries and he was later charged with this offence, and another offence.
“Police would like to thank the witnesses who provided invaluable
INFORMATION which assisted police in location and subsequently making an arrest regarding this serious matter.”
Snr Sgt Reeves said despite publicity surrounding a spate of armed robberies in the south-east corner, there had been no offence of that magnitude in Emerald since the 2006/07 financial year.
“Armed robbery has been in the spotlight through a number of offences in the south-east region, and it is pleasing to see this matter dealt with in such an expedient manner,” he said.
“This highlights some of the good work performed by police in the Emerald district.
“It further highlights the community spirit of Emerald due to the public response in providing timely information to police.”
Snr Sgt Reeves said the incident was a reminder to all Emerald business owners to review security.
Simple precautions such as putting colour-coded height markers on door frames were one option available, he added.
“Armed robbery is a very serious offence and we ask all shop owners to be vigilant due to the increasing nature of this offence throughout the state,” he said.
“While all efforts are made by police to reduce this impact, businesses should take all precautions to provide security for themselves and the safety of their employees. If any businesses want information on safety measures, contact the Emerald police station and we will provide assistance,” he said.
The male was bailed to appear in the Emerald Magistrate’s Court on July 25 for mention.
He has been charged with armed robbery and an unrelated charge of enter premises to commit an indictable offence on June 27. Snr Sgt Reeves said police would allege on that date he entered a Hospital Rd jewellery store and while an employee was engaged with a customer, an amount of cash was taken from a back room.