Caught Red-Handed


tags: NSW, Robbery, NSW Police, Mittigong,

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By Retired Detective Senior Constable Mark McDonald

From the September 2013 issue of the APJ.

One pleasant day in May 1998, staff were carrying out their duties at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in Mittagong. There were a large number of customers carrying out their banking tasks including a number of parents accompanied by young children.

At that time, like many other banks in the country, there were no shutters installed to protect tellers from direct confrontation with any potential armed offenders. The only security measure operating at that point was a security camera that took photographs of suspects when a button (installed near each teller) was activated by staff. This button also set off the hold-up alarm.

In any case, there were five tellers busily carrying out their duties that day and they had a number of customers to keep them well occupied (sadly, over the next few months, several of the staff attached to this bank, would be so traumatised that they would never return to work).

Around lunchtime that busy Tuesday in May 1998, a man entered the front entrance of the bank and made his way directly towards the lady working as ‘Teller Number 1’. He was armed with a small pistol and terrorised the woman, ordering her to “place the big stuff” in a plastic Jeans West bag he was carrying. At the time of the offence the man was wearing dark-coloured clothing and had a stocking covering his face.

All too often victims of these crimes are severely traumatised by the incident and so, as the teller took the bag from the robber, she fainted and fell to the floor. Sadly, as a result of this incident, the woman never returned to work. The offender then calmly turned his attention to the female teller working alongside her and made the same demands. 

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