Armed robber escapes manhunt
A MAN wearing a Spider-Man mask and wielding a machete eluded a full-scale manhunt yesterday after he held up a newsagency.
Police officers, dog squads and a rescue helicopter scoured north and south of the Pioneer River after the bandit attempted to steal cash from North Mackay News in Evans Avenue about 6.20am.
He remains on the run despite a five-and-a-half hour search.
The robber's attempt to steal cash was thwarted by the newsagency owner Mariann Hartup who, police said, threw an item at him when he went behind the counter.
A customer in the store at the time gave chase after the robber fled.
Ms Hartup said later the incident had been frightening but was thankful none of her young staff had been in the store.
“I'm just glad one of my other staff members or juniors weren't on at the time.”
Ms Hartup, who continued operating throughout the morning, said she was shocked at how casual the man appeared, despite a male customer being in the store.
A full scale search, including dog squads and detectives, was conducted through dense mangroves nearby.
Police cordoned off all road entries in the Barnes Creek area including Cremorne St, the new entrance to the Joint Levee Road and the Sams Rd entrance to Cremorne.
The RACQ-CQ Rescue helicopter assisted police in their search.
The chopper circled a large mangrove area between Barnes Creek and the Forgan Bridge for about two hours.
They were in the air until about 12pm, when police called off the full-scale search.
Inspector Andy Graham said police were able to locate several items which they believe belonged to the bandit.
However the man's mask was not found and police believe he is still armed.
“We haven't yet located a weapon,” Inspector Graham said.
He said they were able to get a description of the bandit from several witnesses, and police and detectives continued searching for the man throughout the day.
The attacker was described as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in appearance, 165 to 170cm tall, of slim build with short black hair and a thin moustache with stubble, and he was wearing dark clothing.
The attempted robbery is the third in a week.
Last Thursday a Caltex Service Station on Nebo Road was robbed when a man produced a knife and demanded money from the female attendant in her mid 40s.
He escaped with a small amount of money.
Police were able to obtain CCTV security footage of the man.
They were looking at a possible link between that crime and another attempted armed robbery on Monday night.
In that attempt a man entered the United Petroleum service station on Sydney Street just after 9pm.
The male attendant was threatened with a knife, however the armed attacker escaped empty-handed after a car pulled into the service station driveway.
Police are asking anyone with information which could assist with their investigations to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800333000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours a day.