Police hunt for armed men after 'terrifying' hotel hold-up
THREE armed men are still on the loose after a violent robbery at a Sunshine Coast hotel early this morning in which they held seven people at gunpoint.
Police are pleading with the public for any information that could help identify the masked offenders, who stormed the CBX Hotel on Bulcock St, Caloundra, about 4.50am armed with guns including a sawn-off shotgun and rifle.
Sunshine Coast CIB officer-in-charge Acting Senior Sergeant Chris Eaton said the men arrived in a black Mitsubishi sedan and entered the hotel through the poker room entrance.
"When the offenders have come in, they've pointed firearms at the security guard and the people in the poker machine room, they've demanded that those persons place their hands on their head and not move from where they were," he said.
"The third offender ... has gone up to the female attendant, threatened her with a firearm and demanded the takings from behind the till."
Once the 33-year-old woman handed over the cash, the three men fled in the sedan along Bulcock St.
Snr Sgt Eaton said it would have been a "terrifying experience" for the seven victims.
"You can only imagine, they're sitting there playing the poker machines at that hour of the morning, and to have three males come in and point firearms at them, it would be an absolutely terrifying experience," he said.
Early investigations indicate the offenders were familiar with the hotel and its operating hours, Snr Sgt Eaton said.
"The hotel itself there shuts at 5am, the poker machine room is the only area of the hotel that's open," he said.
"For the offence to occur at 4.50am, I'd suggest that they knew the poker machines shut at 5am."
Snr Sgt Eaton said police could not reveal how much money the offenders stole, but said it was a "small amount".
"The amount of violence and the threats that they've used for this type of offence is concerning," he said.
"When these people are caught, and if they're found guilty and imprisoned, they're effectively going to prison for very small amounts of money."
Snr Sgt Eaton said while it wasn't uncommon to see an armed robbery at that time of day, it was "unusual" that all three offenders were armed with guns.
"It's highly concerning," he said.
"Those firearms have been threatened against members of the public.
"It's a major concern."
After the men fled along Bulcock St, they turned left onto Knox Ave.
The three men were wearing dark clothing, with t-shirts around their heads.
Police are making further inquiries into where the car went next.
Anyone with information that might help identify the offenders is urged to come forward.
"There are three offenders that have committed this offence, so somebody out there will know something," Snr Sgt Eaton said.
"We have three people who are armed with firearms.
"We would certainly say to members of the public to not approach these people, and if they do know who they are or have suspicions, immediately call police."