07
Sep

Police continue search for ‘brazen’ armed robber who held up Park Avenue Caltex

As the search continues for the robber who held a Rockhampton petrol station employee at gunpoint last weekend, a union leader has revealed the risky reality workers in the industry face every day.

On Saturday, August 28, security cameras captured a man, hooded, gloved, and masked, jogging towards the Caltex on Yaamba Road, North Rockhampton in broad daylight – about 3.30pm.

It happens it less than a minute: the man approaches from Boland Street wearing black tracksuit pants, a dark hooded jumper, and runners with fluorescent green highlights.

When he gets into the store he makes straight for the counter, keeping his head down so as not to be seen from outside.

The store attendant has a handgun thrust through security wire at him and raises his hands.

With a weapon waving wildly in front of him, he calmly places several notes into the small, green carry bag produced by the frantic robber, who seems to shout and glance frequently over his shoulder.

With less than $300 in tow, the man sprints back the way he came and onto Denning Street to escape in a getaway car.

Police released the confronting footage in the hopes that anyone who recognised the robber would come forward.

Rockhampton CIB Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Kevin Mawdsley said such offences generally occurred between 9pm and midnight, often close to business closing times.

“That particular business is a 24-hour business, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s a somewhat brazen attack for it to occur at that time,” he said.

“In terms of a message to people considering these types of offences, in this instance the offender was only able to obtain less than $300 in cash. The risk reward for committing a violent offence like that is not justified.”

He said anybody confronted with a similar situation should comply with the offender’s demands.

“Don’t try and resolve the matter yourself: whatever demands are made by the offender, our advice is to comply with those and then report as soon as possible to the police.”

QPS crime data show 51 offences at the corner of Yaamba Road and Boland Street in the past three months.

They include 16 instances of theft (excluding unlawful entry), three weapons act offences, three assaults, one unlawful entry, and one robbery, among others.

Retail and Fast Food Workers Union secretary Josh Cullinan spent five years working at petrol stations.

He said it was “well known” that robberies were a risk.

“We often have little in the way of physical barriers from those who want to offend and cause harm,” Mr Cullinan said.

“Over the years it’s been good that there’s usually not a lot of cash on site, but that does not mean that there’s no risk.

“If you’re by yourself it can be quite a difficult environment to be in.

“What our position is that the employer has a duty of care to put in place every possible structure to stop these offenders from being able to impact on workers in this way.”

Mr Cullinan said it was “very, very, very rare” that a worker was not mentally affected by an armed robbery.

“The first port of call for a worker in that situation should be to leave the workplace,” Mr Cullinan said.

“They should be going immediately going on leave, supported by their employer, paid by their employer, and going to see their doctor.

“They should get whatever referral from their doctor that they need to be well enough to go back to work.

“HR are not the ones who are skilled to provide the care to ensure that employee is brought back to their full health.”

Mr Cullinan said security such as physical shields and duress alarms minimised the risk to workers.

Ampol, which owns the petrol station, said it was working closely with police on the robbery.

“We have offered counselling and are providing support to our employee, who did an exceptional job responding in very difficult circumstances,” it said.

The Park Avenue robber is described as Aboriginal in appearance, aged in his early 20s, and about 183cm tall.

Anybody with information should phone Policelink or Crime Stoppers.

Callers can remain anonymous.

Extracted from Courier Mail