Car park robber hits the skids

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

An ice addict checked out of a Dandenong rehab centre while dosed up on tranquilisers, then got drunk and held up victims at knifepoint in a shopping centre car park.

Damon Shane Crapper, 22, was sentenced on 16 September at the Victorian County Court for armed robbery and two armed robbery attempts on an afternoon that he had little alleged memory of.

On 6 January 2020, Crapper voluntarily checked into Windana clinic in Dandenong to detox his entrenched drug and alcohol addiction.

Five days in, he discharged himself after an argument with his father over the phone.

He felt rejected by his dad who gave him an ultimatum – to complete his 14-day stay or he wouldn’t be welcome home.

At the time, he was under a “very substantial” dose of benzos to manage withdrawal seizures.

Crapper left, bought a bottle of booze – which combined with the Valium put him in an “unfamiliar” stupour.

He shoplifted a stay-sharp knife from a supermarket, then wandered for an hour with “severe” withdrawal pangs and wondering how to get money for drugs.

Armed with the 15-centimetre weapon, Crapper held-up visitors at The Pines shopping centre car park in Doncaster East.

The first victim said she didn’t have cash. Crapper didn’t press the point. He walked away and said “sorry”.

Crapper’s second attempt was more “menacing” as he threatened to stab a father and son at their car. The father gave Crapper a $50 note.

Crapper then rounded on the son. The father confronted Crapper with a gym bag and told him to leave.

The father followed Crapper away in an attempt to photograph him. Crapper again threatened to stab him.

On his arrest, Crapper was nursing a self-inflicted thumb laceration from his offending. His elbow was fractured while being wrestled to the ground by police.

Judge Todd noted Crapper’s genuine remorse, that he had acted to satisfy “severe withdrawals” rather than profit, and his offending was at the lower end of the armed robbery spectrum.

Though he swore to police he wouldn’t stab anyone, his shocked and fearful victims weren’t to know, Judge Todd said.

During his long-running addictions, Crapper had toked up to 40 bongs a day. He’d smoked and injected 1.5 grams of ice daily. He also took benzo tranquilisers to calm himself down from the meth.

For up to five years, he’d been in and out of detox, private rehab and hospitals for substance abuse and anxiety.

He had no criminal record.

After spending 66 days in custody, Crapper was released on CISP bail with drug and alcohol counselling. He tested negative for ice use on all but one occasion.

Judge Todd rated his rehab prospects as “good” – “but that’s not to say it will be easy”.

Crapper was sentenced to a three-year community corrections order, including judicial monitoring, treatment and up to 75 hours of work.

He was also jailed for 66 days – already served in remand.


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