A Bega man who pointed an imitation pistol at police officers in a drunken New Year’s Eve incident has been sentenced to 200 hours’ community service.
Police responded about 8pm on December 31 to reports of a man walking along Heath Street, Bega, in camouflage clothing.
They arrested Steven James Carder, 29, of Upper St, Bega, who was seen carrying an imitation Glock 17 pistol and a 20cm Ghurka fighting knife.
Police were notified of the situation by 24/7 Security Response patrolman Samuel Todd, who was conducting his rounds on Hill Street when he spotted Mr Carder pointing what he believed to be a real firearm at residences.
I didn’t know if his gun was real or not, you can’t tell from that distance and you can’t take those kind of risks.Samuel Todd, 24/7 Security Response
Mr Todd said he was tense as he followed Mr Carder through the streets of Bega at dusk before police arrived.
He made three separate calls to Bega Police – quickly hanging up and then calling back – as he followed the man along Hill Street and into Heath Street.
I didn’t want him to see my phone, so I had to keep hanging up on them, I thought he would turn around and see me as a threat,” Mr Todd said.
The patrolman began following the man in his work vehicle, but then opted continued on foot to draw less attention to himself.
He followed the man for about 10 minutes, keeping about 30 metres distance and hiding behind letterboxes and trees to avoid being seen by the offender.
“I didn’t know if his gun was real or not, you can’t tell from that distance and you can’t take those kind of risks,” he said.
Mr Todd watched the man point the replica pistol at houses as he walked past, but didn’t hear him speak.
“It was pretty scary stuff, there are families with kids all through the area,” he said.
“The streets were pretty quiet, I only saw one couple out walking so I pointed them in a different direction.”
Mr Todd was glad police responded so quickly.
“They’ve got a lot of events on New Years Eve, they might not have found him if I wasn’t there,” he said.
Far South Coast Duty Officer Inspector Anthony Moodie said there could have been dire consequences if not for the professionalism of attending police.
Mr Carder was arrested and taken to Bega Police Station and charged with four counts of assaulting police, two counts of custody of a knife in public place, possessing an unauthorised pistol and being armed with intent to commit indictable offence.
In Bega Local Court on Tuesday, February 27, Magistrate Doug Dick sentenced Mr Carder to 200 hours’ community service in lieu of a prison term for the offences. He was also fined a total of $7500.