A Mangerton man accused of fleeing from JBHiFi after stealing a $169 drone was chased down by a member of the public, a court has heard.
Police allege Brandon Hugh Kriflick left a trail of injured bodies in his wake as he made his getaway from the Wollongong Central store about midday on Thursday.
Court documents said a JBHiFi loss prevention officer noticed Kriflick pick up a Tello-branded drone inside the store, put it down the front of his pants and head towards the exit.
The officer tried to cut off Kriflick’s escape and told him “mate just dump it over there and piss off out of the store”.
However, police allege Kriflick immediately became aggressive and took hold of the officer, pushing him to the ground and fleeing out of the store with the drone still down his pants.
Several witnesses and JBHiFi staff chased after Kriflick, pursuing him out of the shopping centre and west along Crown Street until one of the men caught up with him outside the HeyDay bar.
This allegedly prompted Kriflick to put the drone on the ground, rip off his jumper and spin around to face his would-be captor.
CCTV footage from along the street shows Kriflick begin throwing punches at the man, leading to an all-in brawl between them, during which Kriflick is alleged to have knocked the man to the ground and kicked him in the head.
As other members of the public came to the Good Samaritan’s aid, Kriflick was seen to pick up his jumper and walk off up the street.
Meantime the footage shows an unidentified young male picking up the now-unattended drone mid-fight and walk off with it.
The JBHiFi employee was taken to hospital with injuries to his neck, back and shoulders, while the other man did not require medical treatment.
The matter was reported to police, who obtained the CCCTV footage. They were allegedly able to identify Kriflick from the vision and he was arrested at 3 o’clock that afternoon and charged with affray, assault and shoplifting offences.
In Wollongong Local Court on Friday, Kriflick refused the services of Legal Aid, instead choosing to represent himself in a bail application.
He told Magistrate Peter Thompson he’d been acting in self defence when the Good Samaritan “chased me down the street”.
He did not enter a plea to the charges but claimed his behaviour that day had been “out of character” and in part due to his poor state of mental health.
However, Magistrate Thompson refused to release Kriflick from custody, noting he was currently on several court bonds and bail for a break and enter charge.
The case will return to court next Thursday.