A MAN who robbed the Lennox Head and Tweed Heads branches of the Southern Cross Credit Union before a 62-year-old tourist got mad at him and crash-tackled him to the ground, has pleaded guilty in court.
Kevin John Moore, 55, pleaded guilty in Lismore Local Court to the armed robbery of the Lennox Head branch on December 23 last year, stealing $5814; and the armed robbery of the Tweed Heads branch on December 31, stealing (albeit briefly) $3110.
In agreed police facts before the court, Moore told detectives that after robbing the Lennox Head branch he fled to Alstonville, spending the night sleeping in his stolen red Ford Focus Thrifty rental car.
Moore spent the next day hiding out in the Brunswick Heads Hotel where he “lost” $4000 of the stolen cash on the TAB.
It was revealed Moore had worked as a storeman and packer in West End, Brisbane, after being released from a seven-year jail sentence for armed robbery in Queensland.
Wearing a cap, sunglasses and a piece of material tied around his mouth concealing his face he walked into the Tweed Heads branch of the credit union and pointed a pistol at two female staff, demanding they give him money.
As the fearful women handed over wads of notes Moore yelled “faster, faster” just as tourist John Whitta, 62, walked in to stop him after seeing the robbery in progress as he walked past.
“It's no good getting the girls to hurry because you're not getting out the door; you've gotta get past me,” Mr Whitta told the bandit.
When Moore tried to run past, Mr Whitta told police, he “crash- tackled” Moore and wrestled him.
“I had to do something, so I walked into the bank,” Mr Whitta said.
“I saw he had a black-and-brown-coloured replica nine-millimetre 45 automatic pistol. I have had a lot to do with firearms over a long time and I know them.
“I realised it was a plastic replica straight away.
The tellers were handing over money.
“He went to dive past me but I went to grab him and we both went down on the ground.
“He was wriggling and trying to get away and we ended up outside the bank.
“I was starting to run out of puff and I called for someone to help me.
“I heard a young fellow say 'No fighting in here, come on it's Christmas time, break it up'.
“I said f..k off he has a gun and just robbed the bank.
“I could see the girls in the bank were terrified.”
Mr Whitta said “two big guys” came and sat on Moore and one peeled off the robber's balaclava.
In the Lennox Head robbery a female teller told police the bandit had held the pistol pointed at a male teller.
“I remember thinking, is this a real gun or not, but I wasn't going to take any chances,” she said.
“He said (to the teller) 'C'mon, don't f..k me around'.”
When arrested Moore told Tweed investigating officer Detective Sgt Frank Natoli he did the robberies to fund his gambling addiction.
Bail was not applied for and Moore was committed by Magistrate Jeff Linden for sentence in the Lismore District Court on June 9.