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Reacting to the Mermaid Beach robbery

SPAR Express, Mermaid Beach. Image: Facebook

An armed robber who held up a convenience store on the Gold Coast earlier this week is still at large, according to Queensland Police.

On Sunday night just after 10pm a masked man entered the Mermaid Beach SPAR Express convenience store, armed with what appeared to be a bladed, Japanese-style weapon known as a naginata.

The incident was caught on CCTV footage.

The armed robber used the weapon to threaten a 17 year-old male attendant, who complied with demands to hand over a sum of cash.

Police said the offender fled the scene on foot and was last seen heading south along the Gold Coast Highway.

The offender was described as Caucasian in appearance, approximately 175cm tall, of a slim build with long dark hair.

Store owner Sam Baweja said the employee involved in the incident, known as Cameron, had responded very well to the suituation.

“I think he responded even better [than I expected],” Mr Baweja said.

“He was calm, he wasn’t panicked, and he even asked the guy if he was pranking him.

“Cameron asked him a couple of questions, and followed his directions.”

Another attendant from the Mermaid Beach store told C&I Week that the armed robber stole the victim’s emergency panic button, which is usually worn around the neck.

“We’re all okay, we just had the security all changed, because they stole the security tags… he stole it from us so we have all new ones, we’re feeling a lot better about having them. I’m not concerned, we have more staff on and a few more cameras now, so it’s safer,” the attendant said.

Officer In Charge of Gold Coast District Crime Prevention sergeant Holly James said convenience and service station attendants could go to the Queensland Police Service website for information about how to react in the event of a robbery.

“In the event of a robbery, it is important to stay calm and do exactly as the offender says,” she said.

“Your personal safety and that of your employees and customers is far more important than any money or stock you might lose.”

Employees are advised to:

  • Speak only when spoken to. Talking to the offender will only prolong the incident.
  • Remember the offender will be nervous and tense.
  • Explain in advance any sudden movements you are going to make (e.g. ‘I am going to open the cash register now’).
  • Do not activate alarm systems unless it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid eye contact with the offender.
  • Try and remember as much as you can about the offender and how he/she behaves.

After the robbery

As soon as it is safe to do so:

  • Call triple zero (000) and ask for the police:
  • Provide your name, telephone number and exact location of the robbery.
  • Describe the offenders, any motor vehicles used and their direction of travel.
  • Describe the weapon/s used.
  • If necessary, provide first aid and call for medical assistance. Call triple zero (000) if you require an ambulance.
  • Activate the alarm system.
  • If practical, close the business and try to preserve the crime scene. If possible rope off the area where the offenders have walked. Do not touch anything.
  • DO NOT clean up the scene. Forensic evidence such as fingerprints may not be visible to the naked eye
  • If necessary, relieve affected staff of their duties and separate staff so that they can maintain an independent recollection of events.
  • Ask any non-employee witnesses to remain until police arrive. If they insist on leaving, try to obtain their name and contact details. Police may want to interview them.
  • The media may turn up at your business. You have a right to privacy and you are not compelled to talk to the media. If your company has a media division, contact them for help.

 

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

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