TWO bungling Victorian crooks set out on the Spirit of Tasmania with plans to make it rich but instead went almost straight to jail.
In June this year Rodney Allan Hinch, 45, and Douglas Magalhaes Rabino, 22, acted on an unlikely tip that the Branxholm IGA Supermarket was holding $1 million in cash.
The Melbourne neighbours travelled separately on the ferry with the sole intent to rob the store.
On arrival Hinch made a fateful purchase in Devonport - a $900 Ford Telstar.
The Brazilian-born Rabino arrived two days later and, after rendezvousing, the couple bought a kitchen knife, plastic gloves, duct tape and two beanies.
About 6pm they drove to the Branxholm IGA and waited until a female attendant left before they slipped through an unlocked back door.
Unable to break in to an internal door, where they thought the $1 million was stashed, they waited for the owner in the storeroom.
When he arrived a struggle ensued and he was told they had a knife, although it had been left outside.
After he opened the door a bag was put over his head and Hinch struck him several times to the back of the head with a tyre lever.
He thought he heard one of them say ``kill him, kill him'' before Rabino king hit him three or four times in the head.
The man passed out and after coming to was asked to open a safe containing $8700.
Rabino took the money and the owner's hands and ankles were bound with wire and sticky tape.
By this stage he was bleeding heavily from the head.
The men fled in their car until it overheated, breaking down 20 kilometres from Launceston.
This allowed police, who by this time had been alerted to the robbery, to set up a roadblock.
The men were picked up by a passing driver who was intercepted by police at the Waverley roadblock.
They were taken to Launceston police headquarters where they immediately owned up and were charged with aggravated armed robbery.
The stolen money was recovered.
The victim spent the night in hospital and required seven staples and five stitches to the head.
``It is fortunate that the complainant is a stoic individual who does not claim any victim impact beyond being suspicious of people who come in to his shop and more suspicious of people generally,'' Justice Stephen Estcourt said yesterday.
Launceston's Supreme Court heard Hinch, a jobless construction worker with a meth problem, was the more criminally culpable of the duo.
Rabino was a criminal cleanskin but ``none the less a part to the planning''.
``(He thought) he could do one bad thing and gain some money and then revert to an honest life,'' Justice Estcourt said.
He said both men displayed clear genuine remorse and it was ``one of the clearest possible cases'' where defendants were entitled to a reduced sentence.
Hinch was sentenced to five years' jail with a non-parole period of 33 months.
Rabino was ordered to serve four years' jail with parole within two years.