Terrified by hooded bandit
A HOODED bandit robbed a Ballina service station at knife-point yesterday morning, terrifying the manager and making off with the cash from the till.
About 10am, the bandit forced Ballina Bait and Fuel station manager Ronny Dorrough, 59, to the floor holding a large knife to his back and demanding cash.
“I’d seen him hanging around outside and thought I’d better keep an eye on him,” Mr Dorrough said.
“Next thing I knew he was at the fridges inside and I thought ‘uh-oh’.
“I walked around to the counter to get a better look at him, but he was gone. As I turned around – bang, he hit me to the ground and held an eight-inch knife to my back. It was pretty physical. He pulled me up and demanded I open the till.”
The bandit then grabbed the cash and ran out the door heading south on foot over Fishery Creek Bridge in River Street. Mr Dorrough chased after him, but couldn’t keep up.
“By the time I got to the bridge I was buggered. The blokes working on the road there had been watching him too and knew what was happening as soon as I ran out.
“One of the big young blokes took off over the bridge after him and another jumped in a ute, but they lost him in the scrub behind the motel.”
Mr Dorrough’s wife was working the bowsers outside at the time.
“That’s what I was most worried about. I was afraid she’d come in while it was happening,” Mr Dorrough said.
Police were quickly on the scene, but a search failed to locate the man. They are following several leads and awaiting analysis of DNA and CCTV footage.
Detectives are seeking public assistance in their hunt for a man in his early 20s last seen wearing a black and white hooded jacket. He was described as being of very thin build with a shaved head.
Mr Dorrough was still serving customers yesterday afternoon and hadn’t even thought about knocking off for the day.
“It hit me about an hour or so after and I had a bit of a shake,” he said. “The coppers were really good and offered me counselling, but I think I’m too old for all that.
“We’d planned to upgrade the security soon, but I think it’ll happen tomorrow, now.
“It pisses me off. The station belongs to the kids and they work their guts out. My son told me ‘dad, go home and have a beer’, but I’ll wait until I knock off.
“We run a service station here, I mean with full driveway service. We’re happy people and we work hard to put a smile on people’s faces.”
Anyone with any information can contact Ballina detectives on 6681 8699.