Koroit bank robber caught in covert operation

Koroit bank robber caught in covert operation

ARMED robber Martin Driver had no prior convictions and slipped under the police radar as a suspect until they received some credible information from a member of the public.

With something to go on at last, Armed Crime Taskforce detectives were quick to act, sending in an undercover officer to gain Driver’s trust and get him to speak.

The court heard that once Driver trusted the agent, he soon proved his guilt.

Just after 1pm on January 3 this year, Driver contacted the officer, telling him that he wanted to meet him to discuss committing another armed robbery.

Driver would not reveal the target only that it would be committed that evening about 10pm.

The accused mentioned that he had organised a toy firearm which he had painted black.

He described the firearm as “pretty, f****** lethal-like looking”.

Driver mentioned that he was concerned about using his firearm as it was previously used in the armed robbery of the Koroit ANZ bank.

He said he still had the sawn-off portion of the barrel and that it could be used to threaten people. He decided to tape up the sawn-off firearm with duct tape to change its appearance.

“I think it’s gonna be easy. I don’t think there’s going to be any retaliation, ’cos I know the f*****, I know the bloke, I know the bloke well," he said.

Driver said he expected to steal up to $40,000.

Driver described the target as a hotel with a residence upstairs. He said the publican lived upstairs, he was an older man and would be no trouble.

The robber said he had stayed at the hotel previously, was aware of its layout and would check the place out before the armed robbery.

Driver also discussed the possibility of doing a second armed robbery the following day at a bank where there would be two female staff members that would be easy to handle.

He talked about checking out the town to ensure that the local police member was not present at the time they wanted to commit the offence.

The description of the bank indicated the target was again the Koroit ANZ branch.

Driver further stated about robbing the bank: “Look, they’re very f****** easy to do mate. It’s just people not having the f****** guts to do it. You’ve just got to have the guts.”

At 10.35pm, Driver met the covert operative at Rafferty’s Tavern before they were due to carry out a planned raid on the Royal Hotel.

Driver got his sawn-off firearm from his vehicle, sat in the passenger seat of the vehicle, provided the covert with the sawn off .22 rifle for use in the crime.

He directed the covert to the Royal Hotel where they parked in the rear car park. Driver got out but was unable to gain access from the rear entrance or the front door.

The covert drove his vehicle to a closed service station opposite the Royal Hotel and parked the vehicle.

Driver was arrested by Armed Crime Task Force detectives while he sat in the covert operative’s vehicle opposite the Royal Hotel.

He was in possession of an imitation handgun. The covert operative had the sawn-off rifle.

A search warrant was executed at Driver’s Killarney home and items found included clothes believed to have been used in the Koroit armed robbery, a .22 calibre rifle barrel from the .22 calibre firearm and $1000 cash in $10 notes laid out to dry in a bedroom.

Driver was interviewed at the Warrnambool police station where he made full admissions and assisted police in the recovery of items connected with the armed robbery on the Koroit ANZ bank.