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'Couldn't open it': Thief behind botched Devonport armed robbery abandons stolen cash register in bushes

Pulse Tasmania
Thai Michael Davern was captured on CCTV fleeing the business with the cash register in hand. Image / Supplied

A “persistent offender” has been sentenced to time in prison for pulling the cash register off the counter of a Devonport newsagency, only to abandon it in a bush minutes later.

The Burnie Supreme Court recently heard how Thai Michael Davern, 40, committed the botched armed robbery in the north-west town in November 2023.


Justice Tamara Jago described how Davern last year entered the Four Ways Newsagency wearing black sunglasses, black gloves and a grey hooded jacket with the hood pulled up over his head and face.

Carrying a “cylindrical, metal object” containing a torch, he yelled, “This is an armed hold-up. Open up the till” as he approached the front counter.

When the shopkeeper said he was unable to access the cash register, Davern tore it off the counter and fled as several bystanders watched on.

The Burnie Supreme and Magistrates Court. Image / Pulse

“You ran towards a nearby carpark. You were unable to open the cash register and eventually abandoned it, together with the metal object you had used to threaten the complainant, in nearby bushes,” Justice Jago said.

Davern was arrested the next day and charged, adding to his already “appalling record of prior convictions”.

“For many, many years now you have been what can only be described as a persistent offender.”


Justice Jago said Davern had a “very difficult upbringing”, is suffering from schizophrenia and has struggled with a chronic drug addiction for most of his adult life.

“I note the weapon you had was not as sinister as something like a firearm, but nevertheless it had the capacity to cause significant harm if used by you.”

“That risk always exists, particularly because you were drug affected at the relevant time and, of course, you were not to know how the complainant may have reacted to your behaviour.”

“Whilst I accept this was a relatively unsophisticated and ill-conceived venture which did not result in any significant financial benefit, it is still most serious.”

She said Davern stole the cash register to obtain money to “satisfy” his own needs and sentenced him to two and a half years imprisonment.

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