A Figtree woman recently employed at a Wollongong cafe helped two men rob her new bosses, a court has heard.
Aspiring barista Natasha Kirkland, 21, had been working at the newly opened San Churro chocolate cafe in Globe Lane for a matter of weeks when she helped two men carry out the daring midnight robbery.
However, unbeknownst to Kirkland or her two co-accused, police were monitoring one of the men’s mobile phone and managed to capture text message exchanges about the crime between Kirkland and the man.
Police documents presented to Wollongong Local Court yesterday revealed the series of events leading up to the robbery, and the electronic trail that allowed police to nail the trio.
The court heard the male owner and female manager shut the cafe at midnight on June 1 and left around 1am, both sharing a car ride to the woman’s Haywards Bay home.
During the ride, the man noticed a red Nissan Pulsar pass their vehicle at speed on the M1 Princes Motorway around Yallah, before turning off at the same exit they took moments later.
He told police he remembered the vehicle because it was raining at the time, and the car had been speeding.
When the pair arrived at the woman’s house, she pulled into the driveway and they both exited the vehicle.
At the same time the Pulsar pulled up behind them.
Two men jumped out of the car brandishing a large rubber mallet type object and yelled: ‘‘This is a robbery, give us your f---ing money’’.
One of the thieves opened the rear door of the woman’s car and grabbed two laptops and a handbag, before both men fled the scene.
Meantime, police who had set up surveillance on one of the men’s phone intercepted several text messages between the man and Kirkland both before and after the robbery.
The text messages before the crime reference the man being in Wollongong, him watching two people walk to a car and him following someone south towards Haywards Bay.
At 1.27am, the man sent Kirkland a text message saying: ‘‘Stop sending texts. It’s done.’’
The man then sent another message immediately after, telling Kirkland to delete all the messages the two had sent each other.
Kirkland was arrested on June 14 at the Steelworks Hotel.
During a subsequent interview with police she admitted to providing information to one of the men regarding the cafe owners’ movements.
She also admitted to driving both men to Wollongong on the night of the robbery and identifying her manager’s vehicle to them.
Kirkland told police she then left the area and waited at home until she received the confirmation texts.
Kirkland was charged with three offences as a result of the incident.
She formally entered a guilty plea yesterday to a single count of robbery armed with an offensive weapon. She will appear in Wollongong District Court for sentencing in November.