A man and teenager are in custody over an alleged North Queensland crime spree.
A man and teenager are in custody over an alleged North Queensland crime spree.

Hitchhikers charged over hostage drama

UPDATE: Two hitchhikers have been charged for a string of crimes including holding two people against their will.

Police said about 11.30am a man entered a bakery on Ninth Avenue in Home Hill, jumping over the counter with a large knife and demanding money from a female staff member.

The employee complied with the man's demands, handing over a sum of cash before he fled the business and left the scene in a vehicle.

Early investigations indicate the vehicle, which had been stolen from Townsville, was later abandoned with the two people inside hitchhiking along the Bruce Hwy.



A short time later officers operating a mobile radar south of Gumlu on the Bruce Hwy attempted to intercept a vehicle allegedly travelling at 140kms per hour.

In doing so it will be alleged the vehicle was observed driving dangerously with four people in the vehicle, two of whom appeared to be being held against their will.

A man and a girl were taken into custody after they abandoned the second vehicle near Merinda, north of Bowen.

A 21-year-old Currajong man has been charged with five counts of breach of bail, two counts each of deprivation of liberty and unlawful use of motor vehicle, and one count each of dangerous operation of a vehicle, endangering the safety of a person in a vehicle with intent, armed robbery, stealing, and unlawful entry of vehicle for committing indictable offence.

He is due to appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court today.

A 15-year-old Condon girl has been charged with two counts each of deprivation of liberty and unlawful use of motor vehicle, plus one count each of stealing, dangerous operation of a vehicle, unlawful entry of a vehicle and serious assault police.


EARLIER: A gold Coast mother and daughter have been left traumatised after they were allegedly held hostage by two Townsville hitchhikers they didn't know had just robbed a bakery.

About 11.30am on Monday a 66-year-old female staff member at the Home Hill Bakery on Ninth Ave was allegedly threatened with a large machete by a 21-year-old Townsville man, who fled with a sum of cash in the company of a 15-year-old girl.

The pair were travelling in a gold Holden Commodore, with police still investigating whether it was stolen from Townsville.

Twenty minutes later the vehicle was spotted by officers before the pair evaded police.

Shortly after, a Gold Coast mother, 60, and daughter, 34, in a green Jeep picked up the pair who were allegedly hitchhiking south towards Bowen.

Police told the Bulletin the pair got into the back of the women's car before the man allegedly reached over from the back seat, threatening the 60-year-old with a weapon while she was driving before eventually throwing her from the vehicle.

The woman's daughter then also fled the car.

Police began a high-speed pursuit of the car, which continued to drive south along the Bruce Highway towards Bowen.

The allegedly stolen car was forced to slow at roadworks at Merinda, just west of Bowen.

Inspector Damien Crosby said it was then the pair allegedly got out of the car and attempted to flee on foot but were quickly arrested.

He said both alleged offenders were known to police.

"Irrespective of their age, they are clearly violent recidivist criminals and whether they are 15 or 50, the only appropriate place for them to be is in custody," he said.

Inspector Crosby described the initial robbery as "brazen and unusual" given Home Hill was a small rural town with only one main road in and out.

"The offence was committed during what you would assume to be the peak customer base time for a small bakery in a regional town," he said.

"But clearly that did not prevent the offenders from continuing with their criminal behaviour.

"We're just thankful that on this occasion both of (the offenders) were apprehended so quickly and most importantly neither (victims) sustained injuries."

Both the alleged stolen money and a weapon have been recovered.

The man and the teenager are yet to be formally charged but are expected to face charges of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, evade police and deprivation of liberty.

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