Thief rolled down embankment and hit security guard with shoe at Craigavon’s Rushmere

Rushmere Shopping Centre.
Rushmere Shopping Centre.

A dash for freedom by a shoplifter ended when he found he could not climb a fence and instead rolled down an embankment into a security guard who was chasing him.

He then sat on top of the guard and hit him with his shoe before a police officer intervened and handcuffed him.

Roman Omasta (34), Avondale Manor, Craigavon, admitted a number of charges last Wednesday at the local magistrates’ court.

They included the theft of goods valued at £56.63 from Sainsbury’s on June 7 this year, unlawful damage to cereal boxes, common assaults and resisting and obstructing police.

The court heard that police were tasked to Sainsbury’s in Rushmere. A security officer had seen the defendant take six gammon joints and leave the store without making any attempt to pay.

When stopped by the security guard he offered some resistance and had to be taken to the back of the store where he pushed the officer into shelves, damaging stock which was unfit for re-sale.

In the office Omasta was agitated, raising a chair over his head, and the guard thought he was going to be assaulted.

The defendant told police: “I’m stupid. F—k’s sake, I’m stupid.” He gave a false address to police.

As he was being escorted to the police car he ran off across a car park and across Central Way and up an embankment at the back of Avondale Manor.

Omasta tried to climb the fence with a shoe in his hand but instead rolled down the embankment and into the security officer. He was on top of the guard until a police officer intervened and applied handcuffs.

There was redness to the injured party’s right eye and cheek. He later informed police that he had been hit in the face with the shoe and Omasta had also tried to choke him.

At the Lurgan custody suite the defendant admitted theft but denied the assault.

He claimed that the injured party was on top of him and that was when the shoe came off.

The investigating officer also sustained an injury, swelling to the left hand.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

Mr Richard Monteith, representing the defendant, said that all options were open to the court but his client had started a combination order and there was a recommendation in the report for a six month deferment.

He added that once Omasta had ‘made his break for freedom’ events escalated.

Mr Monteith said that if the defendant did breach a period of deferment then there would be an inevitability about what would happen.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said a lot of the defendant’s offending stemmed from his addiction and Omasta claimed he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms this day.

He added that the defendant had gone in to steal some items and then events became very dramatic.

Judge Bates deferred sentencing for six months with the conditions that the defendant continues to engage with probation, engages with his GP and the community addiction services, no further offences are to be committed and he is not to come to the attention of the police.

And he warned Omasta if these conditions were not kept he would be facing immediate custody.