A BRAZEN thief bit off more than he could chew at a Doubleview eatery when staff and customers chased and held him until police arrived.
About 2.30pm on June 25, a man covered from head to toe entered Peko Peko on St Brigids Terrace after the Sunday lunch rush armed with a screwdriver and began taking cash from the till.
Staff member Gianna Martino was in shock when she saw the man was armed.
“At first, when I saw his hi-vis jacket I thought he was a delivery man but then I saw his face was covered, (I) saw the screwdriver and just backed away,” she said.
“Lucky none of us were hurt because we had no idea what he was going to do.”
When he ran from the store, regular customers Georgi Garvey and Mitchell Robertson chased the man down a nearby laneway while another customer called police.
Mr Robertson said he started walking back as he thought he had lost the man but noticed him hiding in a driveway.
“So he had actually stopped there to take off his disguise and was walking. I confronted him and asked where all the money he had was from; he began swearing at me as he was putting money into his bag, it was full on,” he said.
“He just went crazy at me and took off; I was thinking ‘I have to stop him’. Georgi and I were chasing him and there was cash flying out of his bag as he ran.”
The man then jumped a fence where he was cornered before police arrived shortly after.
Peko Peko owner Samantha Bottegal said she was thankful no one was hurt and praised “quick thinking” staff and customers.
“It’s been a serious wake-up call to make sure all of our staff are fully trained in responding to an event like this as part of their induction and that our security procedures and equipment are fully up to date,” she said.
Ms Bottegal said it was a show of “community spirit” and “modern day heroics”.
Scarborough Senior Sergeant Glenn Dowding said officers arrested a 27-year-old Karrinyup man.
“We certainly appreciate the actions (of the staff and customers) but we need people to remember that in these situations, safety is the most important thing; we don’t want more victims,” he said.
Sgt Dowding said the incident was unusual for the area and the man would appear in court at a later date.
Ms Garvey said it was a “bizarre” situation to be involved in.
“A hold up at Peko Peko, who would think? The staff gave us lunch on the house, which was lovely considering they had just been robbed,” she said.