Slushy prints point cops to armed robber

SOFT targets including a taxi driver and service station worker became the victims of robber Justin Bell, who has a history of attacking the vulnerable.

An Ipswich court this week heard the bandit was tracked down after leaving fingerprints on a shlushy drink machine.

Bell was previously convicted in a Warwick court of the attempted robbery of an elderly man for his hotel poker machine winnings.

Appearing in the dock of Ipswich District Court, Justin Craig Bell, 22, a former Oakey and Warwick resident, was sentenced to four years jail after he pleaded guilty to committing armed robbery at Coles Express Booval on March 25, 2019; and robbery with personal violence of a taxi driver at Redbank on March 30; and wilful damage to a taxi security camera.

Bell, a new dad, also pleaded guilty to stealing from Big W at Booval Fair on March 23, 2019 where he ran from the store with a stolen iPhone8; entering premises to steal at Swifts Leagues Club in Booval on March 25; and stealing an Apple iPhone6S from Aldi Redbank on April 1.

In Crown facts before Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC, Bell walked into the Coles store at 7.30am and made himself a raspberry Slushy. He paid $1 and left, only to return at 8am. Bell began shouting at the female attendant to open the till "or I will use my gun on you", holding his hand down his pants.

When Bell was only able to get $180, he demanded to know where the $50 notes were. The attendant told him police were on their way and Bell fled.

On March 30 at 3.40pm Bell and a mate caught a Maxi taxi outside the Commercial Hotel at Redbank.

Bell saw two mobile phones in the centre console, one owned by the driver Karamvir Joshi, and the second accidentally left behind by a previous passenger.

"That's my sister's phone," said Bell making a grab for it.

"You can't' take the phone. You are on camera put it back," said Mr Joshi.

Bell grabbed the taxi security camera and ripped it off, saying: "F**k the camera".

Bell raised his left fist at the driver, saying "Just give me all your money or I'll punch you in the face".

Mr Joshi refused to give him any money and bell threw several punches at his face which the driver was able to evade by leaning out of the way. When Mr Joshi stopped the taxi in Riverview, and Bell ran off with the two phones.

Judge Horneman-Wren sentence Bell to four years jail on the most serious offences and to lesser jail terms.

With 328 days already spent in jail Bell was granted parole eligibility after he serves 16 months.



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