A COVENTRY man was so well known at a bookies that he even called one member of staff by her first name as he staged one of four robberies he carried out in less than 12 hours.
He also struck at two McDonalds restaurants and Premier Inn in the city.
Each time, Daniel Parra-Braun passed staff at various businesses a note before demanding money, which he was given on two of the occasions.
Parra-Braun (37) of Allesley Old Road, Coventry, was jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of robbery and two of attempted robbery.
Prosecutor Simon Burch said that at 4.30pm on June 16 Parra-Braun went into the William Hill bookmakers in Allesley Old Road and put a piece of paper on the counter.
It was a note which read: “I am armed. The money from the till please.”
Addressing a member of staff by her first name, with his hand in his pocket to give the impression he had a weapon, he told her: “I don’t want to whack it out, I just want the money.”
The staff recognised Parra-Braun as someone who used the bookies and who lived in a flat over a shop on the opposite side of the road. They handed him £135 from one till and £35 from another, and he then left.
At 8pm he went into McDonalds on the Gallagher Retail Park and handed a server a note which read: “I am armed. Give till cash now.”
And he backed that up by demanding: “Give me the money from the till. You’re going to have to, I’m armed.”
The man behind the counter said he could not open the till without a purchase being made – so Parra-Braun ordered a cheeseburger and gave him a £5 note to pay for it.
The assistant still did not hand over any money, but the manager then gave him £136 from the till, and he left.
Just before 1am in the morning, Parra-Braun went into the Premier Inn in Bond Street in the city centre and gave the person on night duty a piece of paper with the word ‘till’ on it.
Asked what he wanted, he said he wanted what was in the till, but was told he was out of luck because the money had been banked, so he left empty-handed.
Twenty minutes later he targeted a McDonalds in the city centre where, with his other hand in his pocket, he handed a staff member a note with two words on it, ‘armed’ and ‘money.’
The manager was called to deal with him, and when no cash was handed over, he left, and after the police were called he was arrested a short distance away.
He told the police he suffered from mental health issues and could not remember what he was doing, but insisted he had not been armed – and Mr Burch confirmed no weapon was found on him.
Mr Burch added that Parra-Braun had 11 convictions for offences including theft, but nothing since 2012.
Ian Windridge, defending, said that a few days earlier Parra-Braun had attended St Michael’s psychiatric hospital in Warwick and remained there for a night or two before voluntarily discharging himself.
“He has mental health conditions, but they did not contribute to the offending, nor did they require hospital treatment.
“He goes back to Coventry. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He makes comments and writes notes. He wasn’t in need of money. It was a cry for help, but not a substantial one.”
Sentencing Parra-Braun, Judge Peter Cooke told him: “I accept that this bizarre few hours in your life was the product of something of a psychiatric collapse you had suffered.
“Your behaviour has that peculiar flavour to it, and was not just about obtaining money.
“There is no suggestion you produced or had a weapon, but the people on the other end of the threats were not to know that.”