A Melbourne man has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment following a string of offences which included the armed robbery of a pharmacy and highlighted the significant impact such robberies can have on pharmacy workers.
A pharmacist on duty and another staff member have both suffered ongoing anxiety and financial impact as a result of the robbery.
Dale Allan Dove was sentenced for one charge of theft, two of armed robbery, one charge of negligently dealing with proceeds of crime; driving a motor vehicle without a driver licence; and committing an indictable offence while on bail.
On 29 April 2015 Dove entered the National Pharmacies Mulgrave store where a pharmacist and two pharmacy assistants were working. An off-duty staff manager and some customers were also present.
Wearing a dark hoodie and holding a knife, Dove approached the pharmacy counter and took about $30 that was on the bench, the pharmacists’ iPhone and some coins from the manager’s purse. He then went to the IGA Dandenong North, where he stole cigarettes and cash.
Dove later told police his memory of the offences was unclear due to the fact that he was “coming off methadone” at the time. He also claimed to have stopped taking methadone and begun taking heroin again.
Both the off-duty manager and pharmacist were badly affected by the pharmacy robbery.
“In her statement [the manager] describes how she would never forget the day that you committed the armed robbery at the pharmacy,” sentencing judge His Honour Judge Parrish told Dove.
“In particular, she describes how she is “haunted” in relation to that moment when she did not know whether you would use your knife on her or her colleagues.
“She also fears that there will be a repeat of such an incident and has feelings of severe panic and anxiety when someone walks into the pharmacy who is wearing a dark covered hoodie.
“She does not now like to work nights at the pharmacy, as there are fewer staff with a greater risk of armed robberies… Even at home she sleeps poorly and has not been able to function properly at work, and has to leave early on occasion.”
In a victim impact statement the pharmacist described being an “emotional wreck” as a result of the incident, Judge Parrish said.
She also suffered sleepless nights, flashbacks, anxiety and “living on edge”.
“She continues to suffer emotionally, and each day at work when the front door of the pharmacy opens she is uneasy as to who will walk through the front door.
“In particular, unfamiliar faces, male, sunglasses on, hoodies on, all trigger anxiety for her and she is very anxious generally around people wearing hoodies.
“Although she has improved to some extent over time, she ultimately states ‘five minutes of armed robbery – a lifetime of fear,’ and that your life is ‘never the same again’.”
The pharmacist now works part-time hours because of her fear of another similar incident.