Workers disappointed after sex shop robber avoids jail

Toni Atkinson, manager of the Ballarat Club X store on Armstrong Street North. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Toni Atkinson, manager of the Ballarat Club X store on Armstrong Street North. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

A MAN who aimed a sawn-off rifle in a sex shop worker's face and demanded the victim open the cash register during a brazen armed robbery attempt in Ballarat has escaped jail, despite admitting to the crime.

"If he went and did the armed hold-up in a bank he wouldn't have been let off"

The manager of the Club X Store on Armstrong Street North, Toni Atkinson, hit out at the sentence on Wednesday, saying Justin Nathan Wilson, 22, of Keilor Downs, should have received a jail sentence.

"If he had robbed a bank would he have got one?" she asked.

"If he went and did the armed hold-up in a bank he wouldn't have been let off."

Wilson disguised himself in a woman's wig, wore a long trench coat, concealing the sawn-off .22 calibre rifle, when he entered the store on June 24 last year.

The court had previously heard the employee produced a crow bar from underneath the counter and Wilson eventually ran from the shop empty handed.

A screenshot of the CCTV footage showing the attempted Club X robbery, released by the employee who was working at the time. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

A screenshot of the CCTV footage showing the attempted Club X robbery, released by the employee who was working at the time. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

After previously pleading guilty to attempted armed robbery, he was sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne on Wednesday to a three-year supervised community corrections order, where he will have to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.

The employee who was working at the time, who asked not to be named, told The Courier he was disappointed and surprised at the sentence, adding the incident still affected him today.

"I am disappointed in the justice system in the way it has disregarded the duty of care it has to everyday people," the victim said.

"It is not very good at all."

However, the victim praised the work of police and detectives and said he would "refuse to be intimidated" by the robbery.

The court had previously heard Wilson and a co-accused had been coming off heroin when they devised the plan to commit the armed robbery. Wilson had no prior convictions.

"It is an issue with society, in the past there wasn't many robberies, but now it seems like there is one a week." - Toni Atkinson

Ms Atkinson said employees of any store that was open to late should be concerned. In particular she highlighted an armed hold up attempt at a Ballarat petrol station on Tuesday night.

"It impacts people who work late night in shops ... any car that pulls up could be a potential incident," she said.

"People are just doing their job and most people are just wonderful.

"It is just one of those things that happens these days and it shouldn't.

"It is an issue with society, in the past there wasn't many robberies, but now it seems like there is one a week." 

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