Hunt for mullet man: Cops reopen bank robbery case

 

The mullet, the moustache and the criminal history.

John Norman Watkin had everything to make police believe he was the man caught on CCTV robbing a bank in December 1990.

But now, 30 years after Mr Watkin spent 11 months in jail after being charged with the crime, the investigation has re-opened amid new information that the actual robber was not him at all, but a look-a-like.

Four days before Christmas in 1990, a man wearing board shorts and sporting a mullet burst into the State Bank at Rockdale armed with a bronze handgun and ordered staff onto the floor before escaping with $52,000 in cash.

CCTV, image of the man who robbed a Rockdale bank on 21 December 1990.
CCTV, image of the man who robbed a Rockdale bank on 21 December 1990.

 

John Norman Watkin was arrested for the same robbery, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the robber filmed by the bank camera, Picture: Simon Alekna/Fairfax Media
John Norman Watkin was arrested for the same robbery, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the robber filmed by the bank camera, Picture: Simon Alekna/Fairfax Media


Shortly after, Mr Watkin, 26, was arrested.

Police claim he confessed to the crime after six bank staff identified him from security footage as the man who held them up. After 11 months in jail awaiting trial, the charges were dropped when Mr Watkin denied he had confessed and a photograph emerged of another man - looking uncannily like him - staging another hold-up while Mr Watkin was in prison.

The other man bore the same mullet, moustache, white shirt and similar shorts - but has never been found.

Three decades on, police have new information that the man in the photo was involved in at least one other robbery around the same time.

Earlier this year, the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad formed Strikeforce Dibden to reinvestigate the robbery after they received details from a credible source which led them to believe the armed robber is still in the community.

"Since our renewed inquiries commenced we have received information to suggest a man of similar physical description may have been involved in a second robbery in the Rockdale area immediately after this," Detective Acting Superintendent Grant Taylor said.

"We know it has been a lengthy period of time since this offence was committed but it was, and remains, a serious and frightening offence."

Police have reissued the CCTV images hoping it may spark the memory of someone in the Rockdale area at the time.

An internal investigation into Mr Watkins' wrongful charging was held but details were never publicly released.

Police have now officially ruled out his involvement in the robbery.

Originally published as Hunt for mullet man: Cops reopen bank robbery case


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