Machete-wielding schoolboy gang 'blitzed' IGA in robbery

SCHOOLBOYS wielding a machete, knife and steel bar rounded up staff of an IGA store and made a terrified girl hand over hundreds of dollars of cash.

When looking at CCTV footage of the incident, Ipswich judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC agreed with the District Court Crown prosecutor that the three youths walked into the Goodna IGA supermarket "in a blitz".

"They (staff) were obviously terrified by your actions. As judges, it's not usual that we see the faces of the people you terrorised," he told the three silent lads seated in the dock.

Aged 16 and 15, the offenders still attend the same high school. Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis described them as being "all youthful first-time offenders", their actions an apparent aberration.

All three pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery in company, when armed with dangerous instruments at the IGA Goodna on August 25, 2017.

Mr Wallis said they wore disguises and were armed. When they entered the supermarket in a blitz, they peeled off.

One jumped the counter wielding a steel pole while two went down the aisle to the deli and "corralled" other staff bringing them to the counter.

More than $1000 was taken. A customer who briefly followed them when they left threw a food tin.

Mr Wallis said the can may have struck one as he was seen to limp.

The lads were found soon after by police and were in possession of a machete and knives.

Two of the shamed lads kept their heads down in the dock and did not watch the video of their armed robbery.

Mr Wallis described what the 16-year-old girl working behind the counter told police that night, saying she'd broken down crying.

Shaking so badly, she couldn't stand and fell to the floor.

Judge Horneman-Wren said he could see the horror on the faces of the staff, the victims.

"This was something that will stay with them for some time," Mr Wallis said.

"The level of planning belies their young years. It was deliberate conduct. They disguised themselves. It was (akin to) divide and conquer, a level of sophistication.

"They are fortunate to be under the Youth Justices Act so detention (jail) is a last resort. Their rehabilitation is at the forefront of sentencing considering their youth."

The Crown sought supervised probation for up to three years that would assist in keeping them out of trouble.

One of the three had made an early plea demonstrating some latent insight, and also written a letter of apology.

One offender was New Zealand-born.

Judge Horneman-Wren said they acted as a gang and chose a soft target, the victims of their attack simply trying to earn an honest living.

"They were confronted by a pack of young hoodlums brandishing weapons," he said.

For their role, two of the schoolboys were sentenced to two-year probation.

The third, who immediately co-operated with police, received a 21-month probation.

No convictions were recorded.

Judge Horneman-Wren, said: "I hope this experience makes you really grow up."


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