12th Dec, 2017

Earlsdon shopkeeper punched robber who took charity savings

When a Coventry shopkeeper put up a fight and punched a man who was trying to grab money from the till, robber Mark Rose fled with a charity tin from the counter.

And when the police stopped him and another man just ten minutes later, they found the cash from the Ray of Hope collection tin in a rucksack.

Rose (41) who is from Coventry but of no fixed address, was jailed for two years and two months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of robbery.

Prosecutor Paul Dhami said that during the afternoon of October 19 Thamilvenkai Sivilangam was alone behind the counter of Albany News and Wine in Albany Street, Earlsdon, when Rose and another man came in.

Rose, who he recognised and knew was homeless, was wearing a black jacket with the hood up and demanded: “Give me your f***ing money.”

When the shopkeeper said he did not have any, Rose threatened that he had a knife and a gun in his jacket, although no weapon was actually produced.

He ordered Mr Thamilvenkai to go outside with them and to give them the money from his pockets, but he showed them he had no money on him and went back into the store.

“They both came back in, and the defendant said ‘Give me the till money,’ and tried to open the till as the other man took two packets of crisps.

“The complainant got his phone out to call the police, and the defendant tried to grab it, but he held on to it.

“The defendant threw a water bottle at the complainant, but missed when he ducked out of the way, and made a further grab at the till.

“The complainant punched him, and with that, the defendant grabbed the charity box from the counter and ran out and down Albany Road out of sight,” said Mr Dhami.

The police were called, and officers who carried out a search of the area spotted Rose and the other man ten minutes later.

They were both arrested, and in the other man’s rucksack they found the cash from the Ray of Hope charity tin.

When he was interviewed, Rose claimed the shopkeeper owed him money for cleaning the shop, and said that when no money was forthcoming, he had grabbed the charity tin instead.

Mr Dhami, who said the other man was given a community order for receiving the stolen money, added that Rose had 30 previous convictions for 137 offences including thefts, burglary of a church, and violence.

Rupert Jones, defending, conceded: “It is a deeply unpleasant offence by a man with a very unattractive record.

“He was homeless and had no money.  He went into the shop asking for money, and when the shopkeeper refused to hand any over, he became angry and made threats, but there were no weapons.

“It was unsophisticated and spontaneous.  He had alcohol issues at the time and suffers from some mental health issues.”

Jailing Rose, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “You have a considerable antecedent history, and this offence is serious.  There was the threat of a weapon, but it was not produced.”

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