It's deja vu for service station scooter bandit
AN ARMED robber who used a push scooter as a getaway vehicle was in quite the predicament as he faced the same judge who sentenced him for similar crimes committed in Beenleigh eight years ago.
Alan John Jones, 29, pleaded guilty on Friday in Rockhampton District Court to the armed robbery of a Koongal service station.
The court was told Judge Ian Dearden sentenced Jones in the Beenleigh District Court in 2011 for identical offences - two counts of armed robbery.
Jones had robbed two petrol stations at knifepoint in the span of six months to purchase cannabis. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Crown prosecutor Alexandra Baker said the defendant was before the court after, once again, targeting a petrol station late at night.
On August 10, 2018, the attendant, a 22-year-old woman, was working alone at the petrol station when Jones entered the store.
She was cleaning benches when she felt a hand on her waist and turned to see the defendant.
He demanded she open the till and he armed himself with a pair of nearby scissors that he pointed at the victim and said he had done this before.
The victim was scared and was gathering money and putting it into a bag.
The defendant thought she was taking too long. He pushed past her and started putting the money in the bag himself.
He then demanded cigarettes; the victim complied.
He left the store and police showed up a short time later.
The defendant was captured on CCTV footage, which was made public. Afterwards, the defendant called Police Link, handed himself in and made a full confession to police.
Defence barrister Ross Lo Monaco said drugs had played no part in the offence and Jones had a good employment history since being released in 2012.
"He worked on the irrigation system at Kershaw Gardens through JM Kelly and worked right through to the day of the robbery,” Mr Lo Monaco said.
"He and 48 other workers were all sacked together - this is what led to his problems.
"One of the supervisors arranged for the sacked workers to have drinks - a $2000 bar tab as apologies from the company.
"A number of them got very drunk, he was very intoxicated.
"Once the tab was depleted they went to a mate's house in Koongal to continue.”
Mr Lo Monaco said Jones was so drunk he was going to go home to Zilzie on his push scooter.
"There was no pre-meditation to the incident,” he said.
"It was his intention to purchase an iced coffee to sober up. He says he remembers noticing the doorway to the till area was open.
"He made his way into there, approached the attendant and demanded money from the till.
"He did not go into the store armed and was not disguised in any way.
"He walked into the store, saw the opportunity and in his drunken state regrets demanding the money and red brand cigarettes. He walked out with about $400.”
Mr Lo Monaco said Jones wasn't sure how he got home and did not recall arming himself with scissors, but accepted it happened.
He said Jones didn't wake up until about midday the following day.
"He saw on Facebook an armed robbery had occurred and police were looking for the person responsible,” Mr Lo Monaco said.
"He also noticed a photo of him on Facebook and money and cigarettes on the floor beside his bed.
"He immediately called Police Link and told them it was him.
"About 5.12pm, police went to his address and asked him about the stolen property. He grabbed a bag from a nearby room containing money and cigarettes and handed it to police.”
Mr Lo Monaco said Jones was now married with three children, who were supporting him from the back of the courtroom.
He also said Jones had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in late 2014.
Judge Dearden said he had to send a message to the community through Jones's sentence.
"If you work in a service station, you are entitled to feel safe,” he said. "I accept you were drunk, and I accept it was spontaneous.
"But you threatened a young woman with scissors and got in excess $400 and cigarettes.
"I said this to you last time, this is economically irrational and does not make sense.”
Jones received a head sentence of four and a half years, suspended after 18 months, as opposed to being eligible for parole after 18 months. Nine and a half months spent in pre-sentence custody was considered time served.