Casino security guard Anthony Donnelly is unhappy with the increase in the level of crime in the town.
Casino security guard Anthony Donnelly is unhappy with the increase in the level of crime in the town.

Working on the front line of crime

ANTHONY Donnelly had been a security guard for 20 years up to October 15, 2009.

He had been both assaulted and praised throughout his career.

But his biggest hurdle didn't come until that particular October night, when a routine security shift at the Casino Golf Club turned into one of the most traumatic experiences he will ever encounter.

Mr Donnelly was in the process of closing the Casino Golf Club for the night with club manager Mark McDowell when he got into his security car and caught a glimpse of something unusual.

"At first I only saw his bag but I knew what was going on," he explained.

"I didn't know he had a gun until he stuck it against my head."

Twenty-year-old Queensland man Russell Johnstone took Mr Donnelly and Mr McDowell inside the golf club and tied them up with cable ties.

The offender stole $13,000 from the safe before fleeing in Mr Donnelly's security car.

"Yeah, it was pretty frightening," Mr Donnelly conceded.

The offender was eventually arrested and sentenced to four years jail this year.

After taking three weeks off work, Mr Donnelly was back on the streets of Casino, patrolling the neighbourhood in his security car.

"People asked me if I was ever going to go back to work," he said.

"But I didn't want to let that be the thing that would see me out of my job. I wanted to overcome it."

It wasn't until this year that Mr Donnelly left the security industry, in search of something different.

The born and bred Casino resident spent 15 of his 22 years in the industry working in his hometown.

Due to his own harrowing personal experience and being a witness to crime during his time on the streets, one tends to respect Mr Donnelly's opinion when he talks about the state of Casino, a "small country town" he still loves.

"There has been a big change over the past five or six years in the whole crime rate," he said.

"I like the small country town which it is but it is disappointing to see the way it has gone.

"If something is not done about it, it's really going to hurt the town."

Despite the consequences of an understaffed police station - occasional lengthy police response times and residents' frustrations - locals are very understanding of the predicament their respected officers are in.

"Casino residents are very sympathetic to police and 99% of residents do know they are short staffed," he said.

 

ARE MORE POLICE NEEDED IN CASINO? SMS 0428 264 948 or email opinions@northernstar.com.au



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