A man has been found guilty after robbing a Redbank Plains store in June last year.
A man has been found guilty after robbing a Redbank Plains store in June last year.

Smoker grabs ciggies despite store debt

A THIEF known to store staff and with an existing debt to pay for goods he’d previously nicked, got angry when refused cigarettes and carried out a robbery to get the desired smokes.

The Redbank Plains store already had an identifying photo of Musa Jabateh for its staff, warning that if the shopper turns up he must first pay up for the other goods.

Going before Ipswich District Court for sentence, the offender Musa Jabateh, 30, pleaded guilty to robbery at Redbank Plains on June 17, 2020.

Crown prosecutor Amy Stannard said Jabateh had persistent history since 2011 when he was charged with assaulting a police officer but had not previously served jail time with two jail sentences suspended.

He had since spent over seven months in custody.

The victim was a 32-year-old woman working at night in the 7-Eleven store.

Ms Stannard said the woman’s employer had placed a photo there and the cashier recognised Jabateh when he turned up at the night window.

Jabateh said he was there to settle his debt and had a bankcard.

He was allowed to enter the store but the cashier’s suspicions were aroused when he claimed that it was his sister’s card and he did not know the PIN.

He requested cigarettes and his behaviour became aggressive.

When told police were on their way Jabateh said – “I don’t give a f**k about them. Give me the f**king cigarettes, I’m going to f**king bash you.”

The woman fled to a secure area and Jabateh climbed through security wire and stole cigarettes and drink.

A customer using a car followed Jabateh and alerted police by phone.

Ms Stannard said the crime was brazen and quite frightening for the woman.

Defence barrister Cecelia Bernardin said Jabateh was born in Liberia, and now an Australian citizen and father of two children.

He had become a user of methylamphetamine after hanging with the wrong crowd and works as a demolition labourer.

Ms Bernardin conceded the store worker had been “a soft target” at night but Jabateh had not physically assaulted the woman.

“It was unplanned and not sophisticated offending,” Ms Bernardin said.

“He says jail was a complete wake-up for him and not a good experience.”

Ms Bernardin said he’d now spent 7 ½ months in custody and she sought his immediate release to parole.

Judge David Reid said Jabateh had a growing criminal history and must use “self-discipline” in his life to not use methylamphetamine as inevitably he would go back to jail.

“You really have got to address your behaviour,” Judge Reid said.

“You demanded that she give you cigarettes or you would bash her. You got under the cage and she retreated to a safe haven.”

Judge Reid considered the starting point for a jail penalty was 27 months but when taking into account time already spent in custody he reduced the sentence to a jail term of 22½ months.

Jabateh will receive parole release on June 16.