UPDATE – 4.30pm
A taxi driver who was robbed at gunpoint in Wagga on Tuesday morning is now “doing OK”, according to an industry representative.
Wagga Taxis met with the NSW Taxi Council’s board on Tuesday afternoon to discuss measures to support the 42-year-old male driver.
Police said the driver was left “extremely traumatised” after a masked and hooded robber pointed a firearm through his taxi window and demanded money.
NSW Taxi Council deputy chief executive Nick Abrahim told The Daily Advertiser that the taxi driver was resting at the time of the robbery.
“He was recovering, having a bit of a sleep, obviously having worked throughout the night,” he said.
“He seems to be doing OK and is going through the taxi operator’s internal support program and counselling will be offered to the driver to be able to help him,” Mr Abrahim said.
“It’s part of the recovery process to be able to help him get back to work.”
The driver was not physically harmed during the robbery, which resulted in the offender departing the scene with an unknown amount of cash.
EARLIER – 12:30pm
A taxi driver has been left “extremely traumatised” after being robbed at gunpoint in Wagga early on Tuesday morning.
Acting Detective Inspector Phil Malligan said the 42-year-old male driver was in a residential area when he was approached by an offender with a firearm.
“At about 4.15am a taxi driver pulled up to an address in the suburb of Bourkelands and was approached by an unidentified male and had a firearm, a longarm, pointed through the window.
“He demanded his money. We are not sure if the firearm was loaded.
“The taxi driver, fearing for his safety, handed over the money to the gun-wielding bandit and he has left the scene.”
NSW Police define a longarm as a firearm that can be “fired from the shoulder” such as a rifle or shotgun.
Inspector Malligan said police did not have any more details on the type of firearm used.
“The (taxi driver) is certainly extremely traumatised by having a firearm pointed at him,” he said.
“Certainly any crime involving firearms is a concern and having a firearm pointed at you would leave the majority of people traumatised after that.
“Offences in Wagga involving firearms are minimal, which is good, but any offence with a firearm is a concern to police and to the members of the Wagga community.”
NSW Taxi Council deputy chief executive Nick Abrahim told The Daily Advertiser that the industry group had reached out to its Wagga representatives to check up on the driver’s welfare.
“Wagga Taxis provide a 24-hour service to the community of Wagga and surrounding community, and whilst there are some risks associated with providing that service, thankfully this kind of incident is rare,” he said.
“We request that drivers remain vigilant at all times when they are out there working to protect themselves and their customers.
“In this kind of circumstances, the network works closely with operators and drivers to ensure there is an awareness and a good understanding of how they can promote a safe working environment.
“It’s also important that they know what to do in this type of distressing situation, such as what we have heard of overnight.”
Mr Abrahim said supporting the driver involved was “absolutely paramount”.
“We are obviously mindful of making sure the driver is OK and has the right support moving forward to ensure he gets the right treatment so he can get back to work sooner rather than later,” he said.
“It’s important he is well looked after.”
Police were pursing lines of inquiry around whether the robbery was pre-planned and targeted at a driver at the end of their shift, or if another vehicle was involved.
“The offender has approached in a residential area of Wagga, which may lead to the belief that he was followed,” Inspector Malligan said.
“The time of the morning that it occurred is a concern as there were very few people around.
“Police are around at that time but the taxi driver was by himself and that’s certainly a concern.
“Police are reviewing CCTV footage from the street as well as from inside the taxi.
“The only description police have is the individual had a face covering as well as a hoodie. The amount of cash taken is unknown at this stage.”
Wagga Taxis declined to comment.
Police have canvassed the street where the robbery occurred and are checking if any household CCTV cameras might have captured footage of the incident.
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