Masked Co-op burglar apologized to staff while escaping during robbery

A masked and drunken robber knocked an employee out of his way at a supermarket in a desperate attempt to get his hands on alcohol and tobacco.

Isaac Carter, 43, helped himself to products behind the counter at the Co-op store while a member of staff was on the phone reporting the incident to the police.

Carter made off with a bottle of cognac and some tobacco from the Leicester store – however, he returned moments later to steal some Rizzla cigarette papers that he had forgotten, again pushing the shop worker aside.

Leicester Crown Court was told that a customer filmed Carter, who had a hood pulled up over his head, and challenged him outside of the shop, Leicestershire Live writes.

He threatened to “smack her in the face” before taking her mobile phone – but he returned it when she informed him she needed it to help care for an elderly person.

Carter, of Sandown Road, Stoneygate, Leicester, admitted robbing the female employee of a bottle of Courvoisier, cigarettes and tobacco, worth £38.84.

He also pleaded guilty to theft of the customer’s mobile phone, that was returned moments later, on the morning of Saturday August 29 last year.

Carter had entered the store at just before 9am, Katya Saudek, prosecuting, said. A male cashier recognized him from previously behaving in a threatening manner towards staff.

The store’s female team leader took over behind the counter, but Carter became impatient in the queue and began swearing.

Miss Saudek said: “He grabbed the door to the service area and forced it open and knocked the member of staff aside as he barged behind the counter and helped himself to items.”

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The court was also told that after he returned the phone to the customer from whom he had snatched it, he shouted “sorry” to shop staff though the door.

The prosecutor added: “It’s accepted no weapon was involved.”

Carter was recognized by the police from images taken at the scene, and was arrested at his nearby home, where officers recovered the “almost empty” Courvoisier bottle.

Carter also admitted that the offenses put him in breach of a previously imposed 20-week suspended jail sentence, which he was given for assaulting a police officer and possessing a knife, a year earlier.

Paul Prior, mitigating, said: “He’s twice previously been admitted to the Bradgate psychiatric unit for auditory hallucinations, all connected with excessive alcohol consumption.

“His alcohol dependence disorder began in 2018 and is the root cause of his offending.

“He says his daily drinking would begin when his eyes opened.”

The court heard that Carter, a father-of-four and a former delivery driver, became increasingly depressed after becoming unemployed.

Prior added: “It was alcohol that caused him to lose his job, through not being in a fit state to drive.

“He accepts he was drunk when he went to the Co-op, but has little memory of barging past staff to get behind the counter.

“He knows he’s going to have to address his issue with alcohol.”

Sentencing Carter, Recorder Steven Gasztowicz QC said he accepted “minimal force” was used in the robbery, but added that immediate custody had to follow.

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He told the defendant: “You now have time to rid yourself of alcohol during your time in prison.”

Carter was jailed for a total of 16 months and two weeks.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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