By Ian Neubauer
A spate of robberies and break-ins took place at liquor outlets in Queensland this week, with police suspecting a link between the robbery of one bottle shop and two pizza stores in the south-east of the state.
At 8.45pm on Monday evening, a man in a black balaclava armed with a silver handgun entered the bottle shop at the Park Ridge Tavern and stole a sum of cash before fleeing in a white 4WD. Police believe the incident may be linked to the Sunday morning robbery of a Pizza Hut store in Runcorn and a hold-up at a Pizza Hut store in the Brisbane suburb of Carina eight days earlier by an assailant who fits the same description.
Also in Queensland, police charged four adults and a juvenile after they allegedly broke into a Liquorland store in Morayfield on Tuesday. The suspects were intercepted by police after a short pursuit while attempting to flee the scene of the crime in a vehicle. Nothing was stolen from the store. Another armed robbery was reported at the Lucky Star Tavern on Wednesday morning when two men armed with a handgun and a machete stole an undisclosed sum of cash before fleeing in a red BMW. Both men wore black clothing, black gloves and had black shirts wrapped around their heads.
An attempted robbery was also reported outside the 1st Choice liquor store in the Brisbane suburb of Jindalee on Sunday afternoon. A female pedestrian was passing the store when a man pushed her to the ground and attempted to steal her handbag. The assailant was disturbed by a passer-by and ran off empty handed.
Meanwhile, an armed robbery was also reported at the Olympic Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Preston at around 3am on Monday morning. CCTV footage captured a man in a balaclava and armed with a handgun assaulting a security guard and threatening patrons. He stole a large amount of cash before escaping on foot. Olympic Hotel co-proprietor Adam Sebastiano told the ABC the robbery was a traumatic experience for his staff. “They are OK mentally but obviously being confronted with a handgun is never going to be easy,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough experience for all of our staff to get over.”