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Man robs bank to fuel gambling habit

Last updated 14:58 28/07/2014

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A Hamilton man robbed a bank and Subway restaurant so he could feed his gambling habit. 

In the Hamilton District Court today, Johnny Hone Tai, 25, admitted two charges of aggravated robbery of the Whangarei Kiwibank on Thursday and Greenwood St, Hamilton, Subway restaurant on Saturday.

Tai waited outside the Rathbone St Kiwibank until all the customers had left, about 5.20pm on July 24.

Just under ten minutes later, the staff member was cashing up and Tai walked inside with a hoodie pulled over his head before handing over a note demanding money.

Tai then told the staff member that he didn't want to hurt her and that he had a gun.

The staff member, who couldn't see a gun but was fearful nonetheless, gave Tai $1,465.50 before he fled on foot.

He then caught a cab to Onerahi, on the outskirts of Whangarei, and changed into different clothes before heading to The Grand Hotel on Bank St and spending the stolen cash on pokie machines.

The next day, Tai hitch-hiked to Hamilton.

On Saturday, Tai went into Subway's Greenwood St restaurant about 7.30pm armed with a 35cm carving knife under his hoodie.

He waited until there were no customers and pulled his hood over his cap before walking in and demanding cash from the 17-year-old staff member.

Tai eventually fled on foot with $210 cash to his Bandon St house and changed clothes.

He then caught a taxi into town and again spent the money on pokie machines.

When spoken to by police Tai admitted his offending and said he was addicted to gambling.

Tai was convicted by Judge Glen Marshall and remanded in custody for sentencing in September.

Judge Marshall also issued Tai a first strike warning as aggravated robbery is a qualifying violence offence.

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- Waikato Times

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