ADF member charged after air base robbery

A serving member of the Australian Defence Force has been charged two years after cash was stolen in an armed robbery at a credit union on the Richmond Airforce Base.

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The 21-year-old Private was arrested by detectives and military police at the base on Thursday and charged with armed robbery in relation to the February 2014 incident.

Police are expected to allege that she entered the base’s credit union armed with a gun and threatened a female staff member before fleeing with cash.

It’s not known how much cash was stolen during the hold-up and the cash has not been recovered, Robbery and Serious Crime Squad acting commander, Superintendent Brad Monk, told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

“On this occasion we can allege that that officer was working on the airforce base so it’s not a situation where someone from the outside has entered the airforce base to commit that offence,” he said.

“We believe that the weapon was a replica pistol and not a firearm from the Australian Defence Force.”

Supt Monk would not comment specifically on whether it was concerning that a robbery such as this could be committed on an airforce base and go unsolved for two years, only saying the crime itself was concerning whether on a military base or in the general community.

The Private was allegedly heavily disguised with a balaclava and a hooded jumper during the robbery, which happened in the middle of the afternoon.

Extensive investigations by the defence force were carried out before the report was handed over to police in December 2015, leading to forensic examinations last month.

Police also searched the woman’s Bligh Park home on Thursday morning, recovering a number of items.

A second woman is also believed to have been involved in the robbery, but police will not reveal her role until she is arrested and charged.

“It’s time for that person to come forward because we will be coming for you,” Supt Monk said.

There was no CCTV footage in the credit union when the robbery occurred, and it’s not believed security has been upgraded since the incident.

“It’s always ideal for all financial institutions to have CCTV footage and to maximise their security capability,” Supt Monk said.

The 21-year-old is expected to face Penrith Local Court on Thursday.