Walking stick robber sentenced, staff nominated for bravery

Birrong pharmacy

A man who attempted to rob a pharmacy but was scared off by pharmacy staff wielding walking sticks has been sentenced

Villawood man Rahmi Oygur has been sentenced to a maximum of five years’ jail over the incident in May 2016. He will be eligible for parole in December 2018.

On a Tuesday in late May last year, Mr Oygur went to the Birrong Pharmacy in Sydney’s south-west and demanded Durogesic, telling pharmacist Alica Gabila to open the safe.

“He was a bit agitated, and he just grabbed hold of my hair and had an instrument to my body, and was just dragging me around,” Ms Gabila told the AJP a couple of days later.

“That’s when the staff yelled at him to let go of me, but he wouldn’t. That’s when they saw an opportunity and did what they could to get him off me.”

Her staff grabbed walking sticks from the shelves and rushed to stop the assault.

“I saw Alice being threatened and I saw Helen (another worker) having a go with a walking stick,” one staff member, Eileen, told the Daily Telegraph.

“I pressed the emergency button, I grabbed a walking stick and had a go.”

A male customer, Trieu Vo, and the women surrounded the man, who ran away through the front door.

“We’re tough old girls,” Eileen told the Telegraph, which reports that the four women are all being nominated for a News Corp Pride of Australia award as a result of their bravery.

Ms Gabila showed great empathy when talking about the incident last year with the AJP, saying that Mr Oygur would not have done something like this if he had any other options.

“I’m not saying what he did was right, but we’re in a profession where we do have a lot of people in need, and there must have been some desperate reason for him to do that,” she said.

The Court heard that Mr Oygur had begun using heroin to manage back pain.

He pleaded guilty to multiple assault charges.

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