Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay briefs media.
Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay briefs media. BRUCE THOMAS

Man charged over six hold-ups

A TIP-OFF by a member of the public gave up the accused armed robber who allegedly terrified bank and credit union staff on the Mid North Coast. 

The man in question - Christopher Gibbs, 28, of St Mary's - fronted before a magistrate in the Maitland Local Court yesterday charged over six hold-ups at financial institutions, including three on the Coffs Coast.

His court appearance came a day after his spectacular arrest in Nelson Bay.

Police allege when Gibbs was fronted by officers at a hotel in Stockton St, Nelson Bay, he fled and led officers on a lengthy foot pursuit, scaling fences, racing through backyards and climbing across roofs before his arrest.

Speaking on behalf of the police strike force investigating the six robberies for which Gibbs is charged, Coffs Clarence Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay, said the arrest was significant.

"It was great work by a member of the public who recognised this male and also an off-duty police officer who made the arrest," Mr Lindsay said.

Police said that Newcastle-based sergeant just happened to be passing through Nelson Bay when he saw the foot pursuit, stopped his car and chimed in, crash tackling and detaining the suspect.

Taken to the Raymond Terrace Police Station and questioned by detectives, Gibbs was charged with half a dozen robberies between Coffs Harbour and Belmont.

It's alleged he struck first at the ANZ Bank on Harbour Dr on Wednesday, November 9, before hitting BCU branches at Urunga and Nambucca Heads the following morning, just an hour and a half apart.

The spate of robberies panicked local institutions, which protected their tellers and staff with on-the-door security guards for almost a week after.

Police allege Gibbs was armed with a knife on one occasion and used a car stolen from Queensland to travel up and down the coast. It's alleged he next struck at a credit union in Macquarie St, Belmont, last Wednesday, then a building society in Stockton St, Nelson Bay, last Thursday before he held-up the Port Macquarie Bank of Queensland branch on Monday.

Gibbs faces a hefty rap sheet including four counts of demand money with menace, attempted armed robbery, armed robbery and being carried in conveyance.

He was refused bail and will remain in custody in Maitland Jail prior to his next appearance in the Newcastle Local Court on February 1, 2012.



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