Three armed robberies in 24 hours

The man charged over last week’s armed robbery at the Batemans Bay Caltex service station is alleged to have committed another two armed robberies the day before.

Joshua Leigh Duke, 30, of Nowra, was arrested on Friday after he allegedly led police on two pursuits.

He faced Nowra Local Court on Monday on a string of 54 charges, including the armed robbery of three service stations within 24 hours.

Police charges tendered to the court claimed Mr Duke was armed with a 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle.

Mr Duke was charged with robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon after he allegedly threatened a staff member at Batemans Bay Caltex service station at 12.20am last Wednesday.

Police allege he was dressed in a full-faced balaclava and forced the male staff member to hand over $300 cash and cigarettes.

He became known as the “sweet-toothed” bandit after he allegedly stole two bags of M&Ms before walking out of the service station.

According to evidence before Nowra Local Court, he also allegedly held up two service stations the day before.

Mr Duke has been charged over the armed robbery at a service station in Albion Park between 2am and 2.30am last Tuesday, when he allegedly stole $400 cash and cigarettes. It is also alleged he shot at a service station at Tomerong just after nine that night: about three hours before the Batemans Bay hold-up.

On Monday Mr Duke appeared before Nowra Local Court via video link from the South Coast Correctional Centre.

He faces charges including three counts of robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, firing a firearm at other than a dwelling with disregard to safety, two counts of failing to stop in a police pursuit and driving recklessly, using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, resist police and assault police.

He didn’t apply for bail and will appear in Nowra Local Court on March 5.

- With Robert Crawford

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