Crime roundup

Man sentenced for offences, including threatening a pharmacist, needed help with his medicines

The ABC reports that John Saether went to a Rosetta pharmacy in April 2020 and said he had a knife, telling the pharmacist that he was not “mucking around”.

He gave the pharmacist a note listing several drugs.

The pharmacist was able to contact police, who attended shortly afterwards, at which point Mr Saether produced the 35cm knife.

He was then the subject of a dramatic arrest, which was filmed and posted on mainstream media sites. This arrest was later the subject of an internal investigation which found officers had not breached their code of conduct.

He has now appeared in front of the Hobart Supreme Court, which heard that Mr Saether has bipolar disorder and had taken a significant amount of medicine before the incident.

It heard that he had become unwell during the COVID-19 pandemic and begun self-isolating, and then run out of his own prescription medicine, turning instead to self-medicating with other products.

He had told police during the incident that he wished for them to shoot him.

He was handed a two-year sentence, but as he has already been in custody for a year, is now eligible for parole.

His family told the ABC that mental health access in the state needed significant improvement, and that the incident might not have happened if Mr Saether had been able to get help.

“He needed to be seen to, live for a while in a mental health unit to stabilise his drug use and get his medication sorted,” said his mother, Rita O’Rourke.

Meanwhile last week, Queensland Police issued a statement saying that they have charged six teenagers with a string of offences after they stole three high-end cars from a Broadbeach Waters residence.

They allege that the teenagers then used the vehicles in committing offences including the break and enter of a Palm Beach pharmacy.

They had also allegedly been involved in petrol drive-off offences as well as high-speed dangerous driving.

And in Canberra, ACT Policing’s Criminal Investigations team are investigating a series of ram raid style burglaries that have occurred in the past week.

One of the six incidents took place at the pharmacy at Higgins Shops in West Belconnen, from which prescription medicines were taken.

The other incidents, which police believe to be have involved the same individuals, involved service stations, a cigarette store, a convenience store and a grocery store.

Police have recovered two vehicles (a maroon Ford Territory and a silver Hyundai Elantra) which are now undergoing forensic examination.

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