Stranger to pokie player: “now’s time for a loan”
A POKIES player was approached by a stranger who told him “now’s the time for a loan” before being being punched and kicked over a $500 winnings ticket.
Caleb Clint Wagg, 23, pleaded guilty on May 5 in Rockhampton District Court to one count each of robbery with personal violence, demanding property with intent to steal, contravening direction of police and obstruct police.
Crown prosecutor Alana Murray said the 20-year-old victim was playing the pokies at Berserker Tavern in Frenchville on September 9, 2019, when Wagg approached him.
The court heard Wagg told the victim “now’s the time for a loan”, after noticing the young man had $200 in winnings on the machine.
The victim refused and Wagg left, returning later when the victim’s winnings were up to $500.
Wagg pushed the “collect” button and reached for the ticket that a winner must present to a staff member to collect their winnings.
Wagg and the victim struggled, with Wagg punching the victim in the head four times, kicking him in the legs and taking off with his mobile phone instead of the ticket.
“The victim offered half of his pokie winnings if the defendant returned his phone,” Ms Murray said.
Wagg refused and left the tavern.
Police identified him through CCTV footage and later found him hiding in a cupboard at his residence.
Wagg was on bail at the time after another incident in Townsville, at 10.45pm on July 16, where he demanded money from a man who had just withdrawn cash from an ATM.
Wagg threatened to hurt the victim who ran to the nearby Cowboys League Club for help.
Ms Murray said Wagg’s five page criminal record included two prior burglary offences, fraud, stealing, possessing a knife in a public place, possession of a drug and possessing drug utensils.
Defence barrister Maree Wiley said Wagg had been raised by his father until he was 12 or 13, only meeting his mother twice.
Wagg’s father died when Wagg was 16 which was when Wagg started using methamphetamines – which he consumed prior to the Berserker Tavern robbery.
She said most of his criminal record was from when he was 18, with a three year non-offending period after he completed a 12-month rehabilitation program and abstained from drugs while working full time as a car detailer.
Ms Wiley said Wagg had gone to the ATM on the day of the Townsville incident and discovered he only had 50 cents in his account.
She said he had not eaten in two days.
Wagg had spent 237 days in presentence custody and was sentenced to two years and nine months prison with immediate parole release.