A YOUNG Grafton cafe employee who was threatened with a knife during an armed robbery on Monday will probably require counselling after the harrowing experience.

South Grafton residents Caleb Jones, 20, and Damien White, 22, have since been charged over the incident.

Both were refused bail in Grafton Local Court yesterday.

It is alleged by police that the two men walked into the Donuts and Dairy Cafe in the Grafton Mall just after 3.30pm on Monday, with their faces obstructed by clothing.

One of them allegedly produced a knife and demanded an amount of money, before both fled on foot a short time later.

Jones was arrested in Blackwood Close while White allegedly ran from police and jumped into the Clarence River.

Police used a boat owned by a member of the public to pursue him, and he was pulled out of the water and arrested.

It will be alleged that officers located items on his person which they will allege were used in the robbery, and an amount of money they will allege was the proceeds of the robbery.

Acting crime manager acting Detective Inspector Matt Zimmer hanked members of the public for their assistance in arresting the two men.

"We would like to thank the assistance of those members of the public who assisted police," acting Det Insp Zimmer said.

"It's a significant arrest for a very violent offence and traumatic experience for the people involved.

"It was the quick and efficient response by police and the public which resulted in this arrest."

Meanwhile, Donuts and Dairy owner Karen Collins said the 20-year-old who was threatened was off work yesterday on stress leave and would probably require counselling.

STANDING FIRM: The owner of Donuts and Dairy in the Grafton Food Emporium, Karen Collins, said the businesses in the centre were prepared to deal with thieves like the ones who robbed her shop at knife point on Monday.
STANDING FIRM: The owner of Donuts and Dairy in the Grafton Food Emporium, Karen Collins, said the businesses in the centre were prepared to deal with thieves like the ones who robbed her shop at knife point on Monday. Tim Howard

Ms Collins said CCTV footage captured all the action from when the men arrived at the centre in a car and entered the centre with hoodies obscuring their faces. One of the men approached the counter where her employee served him.

"He flung this knife across the counter and gave him this black bag and said 'fill it'," Ms Collins said.

"He told him he wanted the lot and told him to lift up the drawer as well and get all the money out."

She said the brazen attack took a few seconds and happened so quietly that another staff member working in the shop was unaware of it.

Ms Collins said she felt guilty about the effect of the attack on her young employee.

"I keep asking myself why it wasn't me," she said.

"He was a cocky young bloke and now he has been belted down because of this.

"He's beating himself up because of what he did, but I told him he did all the right things by giving in to what they wanted.

"I'll be making sure he gets some counselling after this."

Ms Collins described the police who arrived so quickly as "old-fashioned heroes".

"I've got nothing but the highest praise for them," she said.

"Their response was just the best.

"Everyone from the uniformed police to the detectives handled it brilliantly."

Ms Collins said the Grafton Food Emporium was a fortress when it came to security and warned potential robbers to think twice about targeting the centre.

"All the businesses in here have their own security and the centre has full coverage on the footpath and in the carpark," she said.

"There's footage of them arriving in a car, coming up past the bottle-o, at the counter and when they left."

Ms Collins said that while one of the men robbed her shop the other patrolled the walkway between the bottle shop and the cafe.

"I've been in business for a long time and this is the first time this has happened to me in 35 years in the trade," she said.



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