Aborted Brisbane armed robbery ends in tears, packet of chips

By 1news.co.nz

Armed with a sawn off shotgun, Kefu Omani demanded money from a shop attendant but burst into tears when the faulty cash register refused to open.

A shotgun being fired (file image). (Source: istock.com)

When an emotional Omani explained he needed AU$350 (NZ$377.60) and had been in a fight with his girlfriend, the shop attendant offered to fetch money from his car.

In the end, an apologetic Omani left after the attendant gave him not only the AU$30 (NZ$32.40) he had retrieved from his vehicle but also a can of soft drink and a packet of chips from the shop.

The “unusual circumstances” of Omani’s armed robbery last year were heard in Brisbane District Court today.

In July 2022, Omani, now 19, entered the Nundah store and initially asked the attendant where their potato chips were located.

But when Omani returned to the counter with chips he produced the shotgun from his bag, pointed it at the attendant and demanded money.

“From that point your plan began to unravel. It would appear that the till was broken,” Judge Michael Rackemann said.

After the attendant was unable to open the cash register, Omani made multiple unsuccessful attempts.

Omani then started crying.

“At this time it would seem that you started to have second thoughts about what you were doing,” Judge Rackemann said.

Omani told the attendant he needed AU$350 (NZ$377,60) and he had been in a fight with his partner, before putting the gun back in the bag.

The shop attendant said he had AU$30 (NZ$32.40) in his car and retrieved it before also giving the soft drink and chips to Omani.

Before leaving Omani apologised and told the attendant he would come back to the store and work for free to repay him.

Judge Rackemann noted Omani had shown remorse “even while in the throes of committing the offence”.

Omani — who did not have a criminal history — later made full admissions to police, the court heard.

“It would appear that this was a one-off act of desperation by a youthful first-time offender,” Judge Rackemann said.

Judge Rackemann said he would not overlook the seriousness of robbing a shop with a shortened firearm, noting “those working in such stores are particularly vulnerable people”.

“The victim impact statement shows that notwithstanding the unusual circumstances of this case that this incident has had some longer term emotional impacts on the complainant,” he said.

But Judge Rackemann said the circumstances of the incident placed Omani toward the “lower end of offenders of this kind”.

Omani — a New Zealand citizen — pleaded guilty to charges including armed robbery and was sentenced to three years in jail.

But he was released on parole today, with 311 days of pre-sentence custody declared time served.

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