Recollections of Hazel: The Robbery
Years ago, the Springwood branch of Suncorp used to be in the strip of shops in Fitzgerald Avenue, where Swimart is now. I was in there one day, with my high-school age son, when a robber suddenly appeared at my side. He was wearing a balaclava and brandishing a gun, which he held up vertically in the air. He handed a plastic shopping bag to the teller in front of me, and told her to fill the bag up with notes, and then pass it on to the next teller (I think, from memory, there were three of them.)
I noticed that the gun had numbers up the barrel, and said to him, “That looks like a real gun.” (It was khaki coloured rather than the metal colour I associated with weapons.)
“It is, but don’t worry, chick. I won’t shoot you.” he replied.
Seeing I was standing next to him, I thought I should be a good witness and really notice what he was wearing. His flannelette shirt was open at the neck, and I could see that he had red hair.
He left after the bag was full, got into the getaway car that was waiting outside, and they drove off. I was kept in the bank for a few hours, being asked questions and identifying the type of gun from silhouettes they showed me.
However, while the bank was being robbed, another customer wanted to enter, but saw what was happening. He memorised the number plate of the getaway car, then ran to the little supermarket that was at the other end of the strip of shops, and got the shopkeeper to ring the police. (Of course, this was before the days of mobile phones.)
In the meantime, the robber and his accomplice pulled into the BP service station around the corner next to Hungry Jack’s to fill the car with petrol. Of course, the police, having been notified, and coming immediately, saw them there, and they were arrested, long before I had finished being questioned.
You’d think that they would have put enough petrol in the car before they robbed the bank in order to make a clean getaway. But I guess they needed the money they’d taken before they could put petrol in. Still, it was a really dumb thing to do!