POLICE SWOOP ON PATRON BANDIT

A man faced Court this week over a violent armed robbery of a Lyneham pub on the weekend, using a knife to intimidate staff and making off with cash and alcohol.

According to a police statement, around 9.40pm on Saturday (29 June) two men attended a pub on Mouat Street, the Old Canberra Inn, leaving about an hour later.

One staff member considered if one of the men was intoxicated, later describing him as “gurning” (making a grotesque face and grinding his teeth), which could also have been a sign of being affected by drugs.

The pub closed at midnight, and some staff were sitting inside when a man reportedly appeared at the bar, brandishing a large knife.

It’s alleged he threatened staffers, saying things like “Don’t be a hero or I’ll kill you” and demanded to be taken to the safe. Three employees were escorted to the office, gathering money as instructed.

Allegedly the man then demanded they give him expensive alcohol, so they handed over bottles of Nikka whiskey and Diplomatico rum.

The man then fled, with a total of $13,000 cash and the alcohol.

Authorities were called and police reviewed CCTV footage, finding the alleged offender wearing the same clothes as when he had attended the pub earlier that evening. Some staff members were also able to identify the bandit as a man they had interacted with previously that night.

Around 10.40pm the following evening (30 June) police attended a residence in Curtin, where 31-year-old Andrew Whitfield was allegedly arrested over the allegations.

He was subsequently charged with aggravated robbery (offensive weapon), and aggravated burglary (intent to commit theft), although he reportedly denied any involvement in the crimes, in a police interview.

Whitfield appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday. He applied for bail, but it was refused and he remains remanded in custody, scheduled to face court again 15 July.

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