AN armed robbery at the Warrnambool Bowls Club was cut short when a gutsy patron tackled one of the knife-wielding offenders on Wednesday night.
A witness told The Standard it was like a scene from World’s Dumbest Criminals, saying the offenders “had no idea what they were doing”.
Police said two men armed with screwdrivers and kitchen knives entered the venue’s gaming room on Timor Street at 10.45pm.
Hiding their faces with balaclavas, one man leapt over the counter and began to remove money from a drawer while the other kept watch and told people to stand back.
Police said a male patron then tackled one of the offenders, causing both robbers to flee with a quantity of cash.
A 50-year-old woman present at the scene said one of the offenders wore a beanie made into a balaclava.
“I saw the whole thing,” the Warrnambool woman said.
“I go every Wednesday night for a social evening as it’s my one night off with no kids.
“All of a sudden I heard one of the staff members squeal.
“I turned around to look at the counter where they hand the money out ... and there was a bloke crouched like a frog on the top of the counter.
“I instantly thought ‘This can’t be good’.
“There was only half-a-dozen of us left and he was saying ‘Nobody move, I’ve got a knife’.
“My first thought was ‘What are you going to do with a knife, cut one person? There’s six of us and one of you’.”
She said the bandit keeping watch appeared nervous and lacked confidence.
“He’s looking around with a bloody homemade balaclava on. It just looked ridiculous.
“He’d obviously got scissors and cut through a beanie.
“To me he wasn’t a threat and I was going to have a go.
“Just as I was thinking that, a guy in his 30s ran up to him and took the knife out of his hand and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. It happened in the blink of an eye.
“(The robber) was very agile but he didn’t have a chance to defend himself and he didn’t even try to fight back.
“He knocked the pamphlets off the side of the counter and just ran out the door.
“I don’t know what happened to the first bloke who jumped straight over the counter and went for the money.”
She said the incident was over within two minutes thanks to the interceding patron.
“He was a country Aussie middle-aged male who looked at this nervous kid and said ‘No, you’re not, stop being ridiculous’. It was almost farcical in how unprofessional it was. You just don’t expect it in a country town.”
Warrnambool police last night questioned two men, aged 45 and 24, both from Warrnambool, in relation to the incident. They were expected to go before a bail justice later in the night and appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court today.