A serial armed robber will be forced to pay back the thousands he looted from Canberra businesses during a one-year rampage.

Acting Justice Stephen Walmsley told the court he would impose a reparation order of $16,922 when he sentences Benjamin Allwell in the ACT Supreme Court on Friday.

Allwell, 28, appeared before a sentencing hearing on Monday after pleading guilty to 11 counts of aggravated robbery and two of attempted aggravated robbery.

The court was told that Allwell’s one man crime wave began when held up a Kambah service station at knifepoint on May 25, 2012.


He went on to commit a further 10 armed robberies over the next three-and-and-a-half months, which included raids at Conder McDonalds, IGA supermarkets, and several bottle shops.

The raids were well-executed, with the offender getting in and out of the premises within about 100 seconds.

But police suspicion landed on Allwell in September after officers came across his girlfriend’s unlocked car in the parking lot of a southside club. Officers found a sports bag containing a cash tray, cigarettes, alcohol, and a homemade balaclava about 10 metres away.

At the same time, officers heard a call over the police radio that a man had just robbed a nearby liquor store.

Allwell fled to Queensland but was back in police custody in the ACT in February 2013 for a breach of parole on an unrelated matter.

In April, police raided his girlfriend’s Gordon home to discover cash trays from six of the robberies.

Police phone taps then caught the woman speaking about the heists.

DNA from the balaclava and fingerprints matched that of Allwell.

But Allwell then committed a further three offences in May 2013 before his arrest.

On Monday, the court was told that Allwell had been serving a suspended sentence for assault and property damage at the time he committed the robberies.

Defence lawyer, Richard Davies, conceded that his client faced a considerable jail sentence for the offences.

But he said it would be in his best interests of his client and society to provide a light at the end of the tunnel to promote Allwell’s rehabilitation.

But prosecutor Trent Hickey said that Allwell had shown little interest in rehabilitation.

“His future looks much like his past until he decides to change,” Mr Hickey said.

The prosecutor rated the crime spree as mid-range for the type of offending.

Extracted in full from the Canberra Times.