Lismore Auto and Performance TJM owner, Frank Stoffels, is glad no one was injured in Wednesday’s robbery.
Lismore Auto and Performance TJM owner, Frank Stoffels, is glad no one was injured in Wednesday’s robbery. Jay Cronan

Coast violent crimes continue

THE RECENT spate of violent crimes on the Far North Coast continued on Wednesday with another armed hold-up of a business.

Just after 1pm a man armed with a knife robbed a business in Habib Drive, South Lismore.

He held an employee of Lismore Auto and Performance TJM at knife point, demanding cash and robbing the till of more than $5000 before threatening the worker not to follow and escaping on foot.

Owner Frank Stoffels said his employee had done the right thing and was a little shaken up but uninjured.

“He followed the procedures under OH&S and Work Cover exactly, and that is to let them take the money rather than resist,” he said.

“It all happened very quickly. The (assailant) held a knife to him and forced him to open the cash register.

“We think they may have cased out the place earlier in the day.

“Usually we only have a few hundred dollars in the till, but unfortunately we hadn’t got to the bank yet so the ratbag hit the jackpot.”

The assailant left through the front door and was last seen running (west) down Habib Drive.

Police are hunting a man described as Caucasian in appearance, about 30 years old, medium build, about 180cm, short brown hair, clean shaven, and wearing a black T-shirt.

Lismore detectives are continuing investigations and are following several lines of inquiry.

Mr Stoffels was working in his Ballina store at the time of the robbery and called the police as soon as his employee rang him.

It was the first time he had been robbed in his 12 years in Ballina and nine years in Lismore, and was considering upgrading security after the robbery.

“We will look at video surveillance but it is an expensive option,” Mr Stoffels said.

“It’s been a tough two years and at 10 or 12 grand we would have to sell at lot of gear to pay for it.”

This latest incident follows a series of violent crimes in recent months.

Police have repeatedly warned residents and businesses to upgrade security and practices as city-style crime activity escalates.

There were two armed robberies in Ballina in December – one at Ballina Seabreeze Caravan Park and another at Ballina Bait and Fuel – and a bungled robbery attempt by a man armed with a machete in Bangalow, also in December.

There have also been aseries of disturbing sexual assaults and home invasions that have concerned police.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident in Habib Drive, or were in the area at the time, are asked to contact Lismore Police on 6626 0599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 



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