Undated : Handgun - firearms weapons gun guns generic
Undated : Handgun - firearms weapons gun guns generic

Man used toy gun for armed robbery after card declined

AN ARMED robber used a toy gun to threaten a service station employee and steal cash after his EFTPOS card was declined, a court has heard.

Owen John Howlett was sentenced in Dalby District Court earlier this year after pleading guilty to the March 2019 armed robbery, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, possessing dangerous drugs, evading a fare and failing to dispose of a syringe.

The court heard Howlett disguised himself in a hoodie and approached the female shop attendant at the Chinchilla service station, toy gun in hand.

He demanded money from her and stole $480 before fleeing.

Howlett was arrested seven days later.

While he initially denied committing the robbery, he was found in possession of the toy gun and was identified as the robber due to the use of his EFTPOS card.

Just prior to the robbery Howlett attempted to use the card to purchase a drink and cigarettes, which was declined.

Judge Vicki Loury told the court this seemed to be the motivation for committing the robbery.

Howlett was on parole at the time of the offending

In sentencing, Judge Loury called the crime "spontaneous" and "unsophisticated".

"Your detection was inevitable, given that you used your own EFTPOS card or your own bank card very shortly prior to committing the offence," she said.

"I'm told you were on drugs at the time and that whilst you had the toy gun in your hand, you did not, in fact, point it at the shop attendant.

"That's probably of little comfort to her because she was, no doubt, fearful of you and thefact that you were in possession of what, no doubt, would have seemed to her to be a real gun."

The court heard Howlett, who was 24 at the time of sentence, had a drug problem.

"You have done little until you've been remanded in custody now to overcome that drug problem, and if you don't continue on the path of overcoming your drug problem, you're going to end up spending the best part of your life in jail," Judge Loury said.

Howlett was held in custody from March 19, 2019 until his sentencing date on February 20 this year.

He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for the armed robbery, and concurrent jail terms for unlawful use of a motor vehicle, failing to dispose of a needle and possessing dangerous drugs.

For the evading taxi fare, he was convicted but not further punished.

Howlett will be eligible for parole on November 19, 2020.



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