The Westpac Bank on the corner of Grey and Clyde Streets in Hamilton East was robbed at around 10 am this morning. A man passed a note to a female teller demanding money and left with an unknown amount of cash. As yet there are no reports about the type of weapon that was used.
The robbery was just the latest in an alarming leap in aggravated robberies in New Zealand this year, there have been 10 armed robberies in NZ banks so far this month.
Bank Robber Was Let-Off Lightly
At the start of the year George William Cowen (20) an old boy of St Andrew’s College escaped a jail sentence and was given 11 months home detention and 250 hours of community work for the aggravated robbery of another Westpac Bank, St Martins, Christchurch on the afternoon of 8 October, 2008
The Crown prosecutor asked the Judge Raoul Neave to consider a five-year jail sentence for Cowen and asked whether home detention would send the wrong message to other potential bank robbers. His concerns seem to be justified.
At present an 18 year old is awaiting trial in Auckland for the robberies of a National Bank in Newmarket, an ASB Bank at St Lukes and the Post Shop on Dominion Road.
It will be interesting to see if he pleads guilty and how lenient the sentencing will be.