Young age of man charged over armed robbery a concern

A TEENAGER has been remanded in custody after Gladstone detectives charged him three weeks after Rod's Food Market in Mellefont St was held up at gunpoint.

Brendan Hayden Warwick, 18, will reappear in Gladstone Magistrates Court on June 11 after being denied bail on Monday.

He has been charged with one count of robbery with actual violence while armed and one count of possessing utensils or pipes that had been used.

The charges followed a rigorous three-week investigation by Gladstone Criminal Investigation Branch detectives.

With limited assistance by way of identification, officers had a difficult task pinning down a suspect.

However, Gladstone CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Peachey praised the work of uniformed police and his team in eventually laying charges over the April 7 robbery.

"Yesterday (Sunday), Gladstone detectives took into custody an 18-year-old male in regards to being a suspect for the armed robbery at Rod's supermarket on April 7 this year," he said.

"That person has now been charged in regards to the armed robbery," he said.

"He's (Warwick) indicated that he was the person responsible for the armed robbery and as a result has subsequently been charged."

Police will allege Warwick attended Rod's Food Market about 10.30pm on April 7, where he produced a firearm and demanded cash, before leaving the store with about $1000.

While the weapon used turned out to be an air rifle-type BB gun, Det Snr Sgt Peachey said the violent nature of the offence, motivated by a need for cash, was cause for concern, especially given the age of the offender.

"It baffles (me) to think that someone of this age can turn to something so serious," he said.

He praised all involved with the investigation.

"It was through some very good efforts from general duties police, who were able to identify the person through the suspect description, and obviously some excellent work in the last couple of weeks by my detectives," he said.

Det Snr Sgt Peachey said the investigation had revealed the weapon had been disposed of shortly after the offence.

Warwick, despite giving one version of events in an earlier interview, had changed his story somewhat in the follow-up interview which resulted in his arrest and charges being laid on Sunday.

The 24-year-old female shop assistant who was the victim of the armed hold-up is believed to have returned to her home in New Zealand following the incident.

Meanwhile, detectives are still seeking public assistance with their investigation into a daylight armed robbery of a Boles St residence on December 16, during which two men threatened a woman with a knife before stealing about $1000 in cash.



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