Fake first aider takes off with phone

A man had his wallet stolen after he collapsed in a Cranbourne bank.

By Brendan Rees

A man who collapsed in a Cranbourne bank has been left gutted after being robbed by a person who at first appeared to offer help.

Benjamin Stannard, 31, had been sitting in the waiting area of the Commonwealth bank at Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre about 10.30am on Wednesday 5 February when he began to feel unwell.

Moments later, Benjamin suffered an anxiety attack and collapsed on the floor before drifting in and out of consciousness.

Staff immediately called an ambulance while others came to his aid where, at which point a man seemingly came over to help.

“I remember sitting down and feeling a bit dodgy,” Benjamin recalled.

But it was only when Benjamin was on his way to Casey Hospital that he realised his phone, which contained cards and cash in a case, was missing.He said he couldn’t remember much at the bank but was later told by paramedics and bank staff that a man had been behaving suspiciously while he lay on the floor.

According to the witnesses, Benjamin said a man allegedly took his wallet and phone out of his pocket and handed the paramedics his I.D and “took off with the rest of it”.

“I vaguely remember it happening – they knew this particularly person had it,” Benjamin said.

“He was pretending to help … and then he disappeared into the background”.

Once he got to hospital and felt well enough, Benjamin called police to report the incident and later provided a statement.

He also spoke with bank staff who believed the man was a customer.

“I haven’t heard anything yet but I believe they’re gone to deal with it swiftly,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin had recently been through a lot, which he says may have contributed to his collapse.

“My father died on the same day my partner left me two months ago, leaving me with my five-year-old son,” he said. “I’ve left work and been trying to get on Newstart since then”.

Benjamin was discharged after spending seven hours at Casey Hospital after experiencing an “overload” of carbon dioxide and unable control his muscles.

Ben described the man as chubby, tall, black or grey hair and balding on top, aged in his mid-40s, acne on his face, and wearing dark clothing.

Cranbourne Police are investigating.

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