A groom-to-be who attempted to rob a corner shop after losing all of their wedding funds in a crypto scam has been spared jail.
Louis Crosby, 25, from Sunderland, “naively” turned his life savings into a digital investment and ended up losing the lottery ticket.
Within an hour of discovering he had been scammed, he walked into a nearby Premier store armed with an air pistol and said to the cashier, “Give me the money, I have a gun.”
Newcastle Crown Court heard the owner and a staff member put up an “amazing” fight, knocking the gun out of Crosby’s hand and holding him until police arrived.
Crosby, who had never been in trouble before, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a firearm at the time of committing a crime.
Judge Julie Clemitson handed down a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, after she said the “cryptocurrency catastrophe” had thrown him into a mental “crisis”.
The court was told that just before 11pm on November 27 last year, Crosby entered the store with his hood up and his face covered in sunglasses and a scarf.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “The defendant approached the counter and the complainant saw a gun pointed at him through the gap at the bottom of the plexiglass screen.
‘The defendant said: ‘Give me the money, I have a gun’.’
The court heard that instead of hiding, the brave shop worker advanced towards the armed assailant, although the gun was still pointed at him. And when the shopkeeper heard the commotion, he hit the panic alarm before stepping in to help.
Mr Pallister said the shopkeeper picked up a broken broomstick to use in self-defense because he “feared for his life”. The clerk then grabbed the gun and pointed it away from him, managing to knock it out of Crosby’s hand.
He added: “The defendant attempted to flee; However, they were able to hold him until the police arrived.’ When Crosby was arrested, he claimed “it was a joke”.
The court heard that Crosby is a student who was set to marry a Singaporean citizen he met online.
Nicholas Lane, defending himself, said he had sponsored a child in Mali and done charitable work with the Islamic Community at Sunderland University after converting to the faith.
He added: “The explanation for why he was insulted in this way is that he had somewhat naively invested his savings, which he needed for a wedding dowry and for his rent, in cryptocurrency and he himself had been scammed, a victim a crime.
“At a moment when he was clearly not thinking straight, he took an air pistol he bought on the internet and committed this crime.”
The court heard Crosby remains engaged despite the first wedding being called off due to Covid and the second wedding being called off due to the current offence.
Judge Clemitson said she read testimonials about Crosby’s normally positive character and generosity and accepted that his “shame and regret” were real.
The judge said a doctor evaluating Crosby, who had a history of mental health issues, ruled the offense an “impulsive act in response to the loss of all your life savings”.
Judge Clemitson added: “It is evident that within an extremely short period of time, within an hour, you made the decision to commit this offence.
“You must have been in a crisis to act so desperately, with thoughts ranging from suicide to committing financial crimes, to extricate yourself from the situation.”
She said he must have been in a state of “mental turmoil” at the time of the crime, sparked by the fact that he was the victim of a crime and lost the money he worked hard to save while he was also worked at night.
Crosby was also ordered to complete a rehabilitation requirement and observe a 12-month curfew.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/16/groom-tried-to-rob-corner-shop-after-losing-wedding-money-in-scam-16842643/ Groom tried to rob corner shop after losing wedding money in scam