Manhunt for armed robber
By MARY MANN
WHEN a Ballina council worker walked into Lennox Head Pharmacy on Wednesday afternoon and saw a man wearing a balaclava and holding a gun, he laughed.
"I said, 'are you for real?' I thought it was a joke", the Lennox Head man said.
"He had the gun pointed at my feet and said, 'get over here' in a mumbly, drunken sort of voice.
"He looked like a goose."
The man then walked out of the pharmacy with stolen cash and drugs in his backpack. "I said to the pharmacy owner, Robert, 'is this a joke?' And he said, 'No, I've just been robbed'.
"So I followed the guy down the laneway, jumped over the back fence and got his number plate as he drove off."
Police said the robber had threatened customers and staff before stealing a small amount of cash and drugs from the pharmacy at 4.20pm.
Detectives are looking for witnesses. Police said the suspect is a man described as 175cm tall, of thin build, wearing blue mechanic-style overalls, a bone-coloured cap with visor and a black balaclava.
He was carrying a backpack and a firearm, believed to be a revolver.
He was last seen travelling south in Park Lane, Lennox Head, driving a small, dark-coloured vehicle with Victorian number plates.
The incident followed a violent home invasion at Coolangatta on Tuesday night, where two men broke into a home, hog-tied a resident and stole items including a laptop computer and a car with Victorian number plates.
While police could not confirm the connection between the two robberies, it is understood the car stolen from the home is similar to the getaway car used by the gun-wielding chemist bandit.
Sam Tancred, sales manager at Professionals Real Estate Lennox Head, witnessed some of the pharmacy robbery by peering through the window of his office.
Mr Tancred followed the council worker and robber down the laneway between the two buildings and called police to also inform them of the getaway car's registration number. Pharmacy owner Robert Blackburn said he was just glad no one got hurt.
Any information to Ballina detectives on 6681 8699.