Gawler publican foils brazen theft attempt

A GAWLER publican pulled off a citizen’s arrest by detaining one of two men who broke into the P/A Hotel over the weekend.

Police are still searching for the other suspect, who is believed to be a teenager, after he fled the scene upon being discovered on the roof of the P/A by publican John Giannitto just before 11pm on Sunday.

The two intruders had pushed a dumpster up against the building, gaining entry via a second-storey window, and attempted to steal assorted drinks, a till drawer, a laptop computer and an Eftpos machine.

After being called to the scene by Mr Giannitto, police searched the area, but were unable to locate the other suspect.

The 18-year-old Gawler man, who was detained by Mr Giannitto, was arrested and charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass.

Mr Giannitto said he was at home, after the P/A had been closed an hour earlier, when he received a call from his alarm company to tell him multiple alarms had gone off at the premises.

“They also asked if I required police attendance, but I said that I would go down as it may be a false alarm,” he said.

“In hindsight, not a clever choice.”

Mr Giannitto said he rushed back to the hotel to find two people coming down from the roof.

“When I got there, it was very dark and I couldn’t see much,” he said.

“Then, I heard the sound of running on the roof, so I called police and yelled out to the thieves.

“It was then, whilst on the phone to police, that one jumped down and ran off.

“I screamed out for him to stop, but he didn’t.

“Then, another jumped down and I was now fearing that there was, obviously, more than one and (I wasn’t) sure how many.

“Anyway, thankfully, this one did stop and I got him to sit down in the car park until police arrived.

“As I scared them off, (the stolen items) remained on the ground in the bags, as I, obviously, disturbed them.”

The 18-year-old Gawler man has been bailed to appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court at a later date.

Enquiries are continuing regarding the other remaining suspect.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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