The bumbler bandit they ignored

DAVID James Oakley was almost as unsuccessful at turning himself in as he was at attempting armed robbery. 

Yesterday  the Launceston Supreme Court heard the 19-year-old was ignored by police twice when trying to confess to an attempted hold-up of a Launceston pizzeria.  

The former George Town resident will be sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted armed robbery, setting fire to a getaway car and injuring property, namely a bain marie. 

On an early morning last June, Oakley pulled up in a stolen car with three accomplices and ran into Pizzakom in Charles Street with an unloaded rifle.

He was joined by one of the other men, who was armed with a baton. 

Oakley, who has a long history of drug addiction and recently suffered a possible heart attack in custody, pointed the gun at the shop's owner and demanded money.  

At first the owner thought it was a joke and swiped his long pizza-slider handle at Oakley in response.

Then, realising it was serious, the owner ``dived behind the counter'', Crown prosecutor Peter Sherriff told the court. 

Oakley and his accomplice then began smashing parts of the store before the accomplice turned on a customer, demanding money while sticking a baton in his face. 

Unsuccessful, the duo fled to the car, which was driven to Blackstone Heights and torched. 

When Oakley's confession was finally taken by police - after the intervention of his  justice worker - Oakley said it was the  most stupid thing he'd done in his life.

Defence counsel Fran McCracken said her client had basically ``followed the orders of others'' that morning. 

He had no idea what had been planned until he was in the car driving towards Pizzakom. 

And initially he was just going to be the getaway driver - until it turned out he couldn't drive a manual. 

Homeless at the time, he was deeply regretful after the event and confessed at a time when there was very little evidence implicating him. 

No other person has been charged in the matter.

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