Police released this image of a man in relation to the armed robbery of a service station in Koongal on Friday night.
Police released this image of a man in relation to the armed robbery of a service station in Koongal on Friday night. QPS

The tragic tale behind scooter bandit's brazen servo robbery

WAKING up on Saturday bleary eyed, surrounded by the proceeds of crime, with his face splashed across the news, Alan John Jones knew he was in a lot of trouble.

Zilzie resident Jones, 28, had made no attempt to disguise his face or distinctive mohawk hair cut during the alleged opportunistic robbery on Friday night of a Koongal service station, with a pair of service station scissors and a scooter for escape.

Seeing the writing on the wall, he called Rockhampton Police to confess to his crime.

The story behind his "act of madness" was almost Shakespearian in the way it played out in yesterday morning's bail hearing at the Rockhampton Magistrates Court.

Led into the dock, a tearful Jones waved and blew kisses to his sobbing, heavily pregnant wife and two young children (aged five and two), who were seated in the public gallery as he answered the charge of armed robbery with actual violence.

 

SCOOTER BANDIT: The man with the usual hair cut and even more unusual escape vehicle handed himself in to authorities.
SCOOTER BANDIT: The man with the usual hair cut and even more unusual escape vehicle handed himself in to authorities. Contributed

Police Prosecutor Julie Marsden said Jones's criminal history wasn't extensive but was very relevant given he served three years in prison for previous robberies in 2010 and 2011.

She alleged that at 9.25pm on Friday night, Jones approached the business on Thozet Road riding a child-sized scooter.

Jones then went inside the store and recognising it was a "soft target", entered a staff area where he allegedly grabbed the 22-year-old female attendant by the hips, demanding she open the till.

Ms Marsden said Jones armed himself with the scissors and pointed them towards her hips saying "it was not the first time he had done this".

The woman complied. Jones allegedly removed a sum of cash and took as many cigarettes as he could carry before making her lie on the ground, throwing the scissors on the floor and scooting from the scene.

Defence barrister William Prizeman painted a sad story of the struggles and mitigating circumstances facing his client and family.

Since his release from jail, Jones had sought to rehabilitate himself into society with his family providing a stabilising role in his life.

Mr Prizeman said Jones's wife, due to give birth to their third child in three weeks, was taking medication to treat her Asperger's syndrome.

He said Jones had been battling cancer after being diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013.

"He just finished his second round of (cancer) treatment ... two weeks ago," Mr Prizeman said.

"He currently takes a medication called Lexapro for anxiety and he instructs that it has quite unpredictable consequences when combined with alcohol."

Jones has worked as a plumber since 2015 but after his work on the Kershaw Gardens project finished up on Friday, Mr Prizeman said Jones was told by his employer that they wouldn't have any more work for him.

Given he was the sole income provider for the family, Jones was distressed and threw himself into a drinking session consuming a "significant amount of alcohol" which, combined with the Lexapro, would have precipitated his lapse in judgment leading to him "committing an act of madness" on Friday night.

As he was intoxicated, Jones couldn't recall much of the events that happened during the robbery but admitted acting on the spur of the moment when he saw the opportunity.

Mr Prizeman described the behaviour as "extremely unsophisticated offending where he was almost guaranteed to be recognised".

 

IN CUSTODY: Alan John Jones unsuccessfully sought to be bailed while a brief of evidence was assembled regarding Friday's robbery of a service station.
IN CUSTODY: Alan John Jones unsuccessfully sought to be bailed while a brief of evidence was assembled regarding Friday's robbery of a service station. Contributed

Mr Prizeman didn't wish to take anything away from the seriousness of the crimes but said Jones had quickly handed himself in, cooperated fully and returned all of the stolen property.

Adding to the bitterness of the situation, before he handed himself in to the authorities, Jones had been contacted by his employer offering him more work.

As the matter would take up to nine months to be finalised by the District Court, Mr Prizeman suggested his client could remain working, while adhering to strict bail conditions.

Prosecutor Marsden empathised with Jones' family's struggles but disagreed that his cooperation would have altered the outcome significantly given the weight of evidence gathered from the crime scene, including the CCTV footage.

Opposing bail, she said Jones posed an enormous risk.

She said his previous three years in jail should have acted as a deterrent but instead he unravelled and became a threat to society as soon as he found himself in a stressful situation and alcohol was involved.

Ms Marsden argued that there were many doing it as tough or worse in the community who didn't need to be encouraged to replicate this sort of offending.

Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale agreed Jones represented too much of a risk to the community after committing a "frightening crime" of the "utmost seriousness" and his previous criminal history.

She was not convinced that Jones had the necessary family supports in place or that cause had been shown why bail should have been granted.

The magistrate remanded Jones in custody for six weeks while a brief of evidence was prepared for the District Court.

As he was about to be lead off to prison by the guard, Jones stood his ground, demanding to say good bye to his wife and children saying it was "f---ing b---s---".

He wife echoed his calls to say goodbye.

Pushing her way into the court area, she walked over to the glass enclosed dock, where she clung to his hand through the gap for a brief moment before he was led away, yelling his goodbyes to his children.

As a parting shot, Jones' sobbing wife yelled at the magistrate "you are evil!" before leaving the court room with her young children in tow.

Jones will reappear in court on September 26.



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