Court told accused bank robber spent big with stolen cash

A MAN who spent $900 at a Foot Locker store and bought a BMW days after allegedly robbing a bank appeared in the Rockhampton District Court yesterday.

John Robert Cole has pleaded not guilty to one count of armed robbery after he allegedly entered the Westpac Bank branch at Stockland Rockhampton in January this year and left with close to $10,000 cash.

Crown prosecutor Dean Jones told the court Cole entered the branch at 3.30pm on January 8, dressed in a disguise including sunglasses and a long sleeve shirt with the collar popped when he demanded cash from the teller.

The court heard Cole said, "I've got a gun, give me the money," before he fled the scene on foot, chased by the bank manager, then took off in a getaway car.

Mr Jones said Cole spent the stolen money at various locations in the five-day period following the alleged offence.

The court heard Cole spent $3200 on a second-hand BMW, $900 in a Foot Locker store, deposited $2400 into a Commonwealth Bank account and spent $2000 on pokies.

Mr Jones said Cole was caught four days later when he returned to the Foot Locker store at Stockland Rockhampton and came face-to-face with the bank manager.

"That's when it all started to unravel (for the defendant), it was a snow-ball effect," Mr Jones said.

The court heard Cole disposed of his disguise but police found a photo of sunglasses on his mobile phone and a shoe box belonging to the shoes Cole wore during the alleged offence.

Police also found the alleged getaway car, a white Holden Commodore, in Cole's driveway.

"Adding to all that he also had the unexplained wealth," Mr Jones said.

Westpac Bank manager Peter Fraser told the court he heard the defendant shouting and "thought maybe his dole payment had not come in".

"He looked odd and out of place by the way he was dressed and he made a beeline for the teller," Mr Fraser said.

"I realised it was more serious than that when I heard him say give me the cash.

"I though s**t, something serious is happening."

Mr Fraser said he took chase as Cole fled the bank.

"I thought bugger this, I'll chase him and see where he was going," he said.

The trial continues today.



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