By Brendan Rees
Two armed thugs threatened a servo attendant with a machete and large rock in Narre Warren North this morning, Friday 12 January.
Police have been told two men, perceived to be of African appearance entered the petrol station on Heatherton road just after 4am.
The men threatened the attendant before stealing the cash till containing about $250 and fleeing on foot.
Police say both men were described as being tall, and had their faces covered by t-shirts.
No one was physically injured during the incident.
United Petroleum CEO David Szymczak said although United had a locked door policy at night, the two men managed to follow the attendant into the store after he had dumped some rubbish outside.
He said trauma counselling had been offered to the attendant and another person in the store at the time.
“All the right procedures were followed and I’m really pleased that no one was hurt.”
Shadow Minister for Police Edward O’Donohue responded to the African gang crime crisis hitting Victoria, saying genuine engagement with communities to discuss the gang crisis was important, but would not fix the immediate threat facing the community.
“Daniel Andrews needs to recall Parliament and consider changes to fix our broken bail system, soft sentencing laws and ineffective anti-gang laws.”
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores CEO Jeff Rogut has publicly called for actions to not only protect small businesses, but to save people’s lives.
Mr Rogut will host a forum to bring together business groups, law enforcement authorities, politicians and other stakeholders with a view to taking tougher action against criminals who target businesses without fear or deterrents.
“Each week we read reports of criminal gangs perpetuating violent crimes and robberies, with service stations and convenience stores in particular being targeted by these criminals. What we don’t read about are any real deterrents to these crimes,” Mr Rogut says.
“How many violent incidents is it going to take until Victorians see the judiciary hand out sentences appropriate to the trauma inflicted by these criminals and in line with community expectations?” he said.
“Service station robberies are happening almost every day. Surely as a state we can’t accept this as the new norm.”
Mr Rogut said people who work in the 24/7 convenience industry were feeling less and less safe in going to work. “It’s unacceptable and it must stop.”
“We are at the point where the only stance on crime left to take is a tough one. Small business demands it and so do members of the community,”
Anyone with information or who witnessed the armed robbery is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report to Crime Stoppers at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au