Teen holds up Corowa florist

The Corowa florist where 77-year-old Betty Johnstone was held up by a teenager.
The Corowa florist where 77-year-old Betty Johnstone was held up by a teenager.

AN elderly flower shop owner fought off a boy armed with a pair of scissors during a daylight robbery in Corowa yesterday.

Florist Betty Johnstone, 77, was working at her Sanger Street store when the boy entered about 9am. 

He left and returned soon after, asking for an item, before allegedly grabbing a pair of scissors and demanding cash. 

A nearby business owner said Mrs Johnstone wrestled with the boy and pushed him out of the store while screaming, which attracted the attention of two women who chased the boy down the street.

The boy rode his bike to the Woolworths car park, dropped the money and rode away. 

Leisha Rolls, who chased the boy with Sam Green, said she was operating on adrenaline when she chased the boy. 

“It’s just very scary to be happening in a small country town, in a small business, with an elderly lady,” she said. 

“It just makes you wonder what’s happening in the town for this to happen to us. 

“It’s a bit close to home. 

“It’s a little scary to think how, particularly a young boy, could do something so callous to an older lady.”

Mrs Johnstone’s sister-in-law Sandra said Betty had run the business for about 40 years. 

“I think she’s fairly shaken,” she said. 

“She’s well over the extended retirement age the government has been proposing.”

Pepi Espejo comforted Mrs Johnstone in his café after the incident. 

“She had a coffee while she was getting over the nerves,” he said. 

“You could see it in her face that she was pretty shocked at having such a young kid hold her up.

“It must be pretty scary for someone of her age. She’s a very sweet lady.” 

Mrs Johnstone closed her business after the robbery, while police collected evidence, but the store reopened later in the day.

Police yesterday arrested a Corowa boy, 14, and charged him with armed robbery. 

He will appear in Albury Children’s Court today.

While at the scene The Border Mail was told the youth had recently been released from juvenile detention.