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Teen gas station robber with fake gun jailed for seven years

A teenager who robbed a service station with a fake gun was yesterday jailed for more than seven years.

OJ Campbell, 17, was sentenced to five years in jail for the use of an imitation firearm plus two-and-a-half years behind bars for robbery.

The sentence will be followed by 18 months of probation.

Puisne Judge Craig Attridge said: “This was undoubtedly a brazen and audacious daylight robbery of a business that at the time when businesses are struggling to remain in operation.”

Mr Justice Attridge added that no one was injured in the robbery, but staff at the Rubis gas station on Pembroke’s St John’s Road, had no idea if the firearm was real.

He said: “The cashier had a heart condition and feared for her life. He is lucky the shock did not kill her.”

Mr Justice Attridge added there had been an upward trend in gun violence after a period of relative calm.

He said a message had to be sent that those who commit such offences could expect long sentences.

The court heard earlier that Campbell went to the Rubis gas station on St John’s Road on the back of a motorcycle ridden by another man about 12.45pm on May 28.

The rider held the door to the station open and Campbell went in with an object in a bag that appeared to be a gun.

The terrified staff were ordered to show him where the safe was.

He was told there was no safe and climbed over the counter, opened the cash register and took out cash.

The two returned to their motorbike and fled.

Police found the motorcycle abandoned on North Shore Road just after the robbery and were told by witnesses that two men had run from the area.

Officers spotted Campbell on foot about 1.30am and chased him into a Pembroke warehouse

Police noticed he had a brown paper bag in his hand when he ran into the building, but did not have it when he came out.

Staff at the warehouse later told police they had discovered the bag, which was found to contain $2,619 in Bermuda cash and $56 in US bills.

Carrington Mahoney, for the Crown, told the Supreme Court that Campbell confessed to his involvement in the robbery later that day.

Campbell told police that the robbery was planned several days in advance and that he and his partner in crime had fled to an abandoned home to change their clothes after the robbery.

Mr Mahoney said Campbell deserved a discount for his youth, his lack of previous convictions and his early guilty plea.

But he added the offence itself was a “calculated and planned” attack that took advantage of the public’s fear of gun violence.

Mr Mahoney said: “The fact that the firearm was an imitation would not have been known to anyone at the time.”

Marc Daniels, who represented Campbell, accepted that the offence was serious and a prison sentence should be expected.

But he added that the focus should be as much on rehabilitation for the defendant as it was on sending a message to the public.

Mr Daniels said: “He is 17 years old. He has the opportunity to change his course.”

Campbell told the court: “I’m sorry for my actions. I regret that day. I just hope to get a second chance.”

Mr Justice Attridge said given Campbell’s youth, previous good character, early guilty plea and remorse, a sentence of two-and-a-half years on the robbery charge was appropriate.

He added the imitation firearm offence carried a mandatory minimum of ten years behind bars.

But Mr Justice Attridge said a sentence of five years, to be served consecutively, would be appropriate under the circumstances.

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