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Shoplifter who fired BB gun into Dereham Co-op jailed

PUBLISHED: 15:12 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:13 02 February 2018

Dereham Co-operative food store. Picture: Archant

Dereham Co-operative food store. Picture: Archant

Archant

A 20 year-old Norfolk supermarket worker feared for his life when confronted by a shoplifter firing what appeared to be a gun, a court heard.

Dereham Co-operative food store. Picture: ArchantDereham Co-operative food store. Picture: Archant

Edgar Ovalles, 24, had earlier been stopped from stealing two cans of alcohol from the Co-op store in Dereham Market place, but then returned brandishing a BB gun which he fired into the store, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said the young store assistant fled into the warehouse fearing the gun was real after hearing a loud bang and in an impact statement said the incident left him with nightmares and made him decide to change his job because he felt so anxious and on edge about staying in his role.

The court heard the incident happened at around 5.15pm, when there were customers as well as staff in the store.

Ovalles, admitted possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear on November 21, last year.

Edgar Ovalles was chailed for 3 years for possesion if an imitation firwarm, sexual assult and shoplifting. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.Edgar Ovalles was chailed for 3 years for possesion if an imitation firwarm, sexual assult and shoplifting. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary.

He also admitted sexually assaulting a 15 year-old schoolgirl in Dereham, after he lifted up her skirt as she was walking in the town with friends and a further shoplifting matter.

Jailing him for three years Recorder Andrew Shaw said his offending behaviour was “troubling” and he was becoming a danger to the public.

He said that he had discharged the BB gun causing a loud bang and said the frightened victim thought the gun was real: “It looked real. He genuinely feared for his life.”

He said the victim suffered from anxiety and stress as a result of what happened: “It caused him to leave his job.”

Recorder Shaw told Ovalles that he had discharged the loaded BB gun in public and said: “It was discharged in a shop where there were members of the public. Fortunately no injury or damage was caused.”

He also made Ovalles subject to a criminal behaviour order and restraining order and placed him on the sex offender register for 10 years.

Michael Clare, for Ovalles, said that his spate of offending was “bizarre.”

“He is a Walty Mitty character. It is difficult to assess what motivates him.”

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