Smiling bank robber jailed for 28 months

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2013

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Christchurch's smiling bank robber, who held up the ANZ Woolston branch with a fake bomb and detonator, has been jailed for two years and four months.

In the Christchurch District Court yesterday, Timothy Daniel Whelan, 22, unemployed, was sentenced on a charge of aggravated robbery of the Ferry Rd bank on September 24.

Defence counsel Michael Starling said Whelan, of Parklands, went into the bank with a device he had created and waited until the people who were being served had left.

The device had wires attached, but there was no risk of harm to anyone.

Starling said a clinical psychologist's report stated Whelan planned the heist and then became fixated with it.

Crown prosecutor Nicola Robson said the offending had not been well thought through. The co-offender who drove Whelan to and from the bank had also been charged, she said.

Reparation of $2525 was sought by the bank, and an order for the destruction of the imitation bomb and false detonation device was sought by the Crown.

Judge David Holderness said Whelan entered the bank with the intention of demanding and taking money.

Whelan had financial difficulties after he resigned from his job, and he planned the offending over several days.

Whelan taped several batteries and a switch together, put them in a plastic container and attached wires to make it look like a detonator.

He approached a female teller who thought he was joking, but he showed her the false detonator and she handed over $5660 in cash.

Holderness said there was no risk of physical harm to anyone in the bank, but they were not to know that.

Whelan had previously observed the premises and had decided in advance that that bank would be the target for the robbery, and he took a significant amount of money, he said.

Police had recovered some of the money, but Whelan was unable to tell them what he had spent the rest on, he said.

He sentenced Whelan to two years and four months' prison, and ordered a reparation payment of $2525, and asked for a departmental psychologist report for the Parole Board.

Whelan was arrested after police released his security-camera image and it appeared in the media.

He was smiling in the picture and did not try to conceal his identity.

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- The Press

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