WHEN Josh Gillies decided to hold-up a business in Kurri Kurri last year, he chose one where he knew some of the people who worked there.
Gillies, 22, of Abermain, was armed with a gun when he walked into the Gold Sing Chinese Restaurant on Lang Street about 7.50pm on October 19 last year.
He would later tell police that his ex-girlfriend was working in the kitchen that night and would question why he would rob a restaurant where his mother was also an employee.
A grey hoodie over his head and a black bandana covering his nose and mouth, Gillies strode into the restaurant and pointed the firearm at a female employee behind the counter, according to an agreed statement of facts.
The woman ducked down, heard the bell above the front door ring and looked up to see the money she was counting and Gillies were both gone.
But on the way out, Gillies clipped something and subsequently dropped a bundle of notes, fleeing the store with only $30 in coins, according to court documents.
Other witnesses had become suspicious of Gillies’ presence outside the store and watched as he fled the restaurant and ran across the road, a rifle in his right hand and a hessian bag clutched to his stomach.
At that moment the hood came off Gillies’ head, revealing part of his face, witnesses said.
Gillies sprinted into Hampden Street and jumped into the passenger seat of a white Nissan Pulsar.
But another witness was watching, that person memorised the number plate and called the police when they got home.
Police then pulled over the vehicle in First Street at Weston about 9.20pm that night, arresting Gillies, the alleged getaway driver and another male.
The other male was later released without charge.
Gillies initially denied robbing the restaurant, said he knew his ex-partner was working there that night and questioned why he would rob a restaurant where his mother also worked.
Police searched a house in Weston and located three grey hooded jumpers and empty resealable coin bags. They also found a gun in the grass in the backyard.
Gillies has since pleaded guilty to armed robbery and appeared in Newcastle District Court on Thursday.
The matter was adjourned to the same court in November when Gillies will be sentenced.
He faces the maximum of 20 years in jail.
A woman, 28, of Fourth Street, Weston, who police claim is the getaway driver in the Nissan Pulsar, has also been charged with armed robbery.
She is due to appear in Newcastle District Court on August 17.