GYMPIE businessman Rob Duke was filling up his car as a man allegedly tried to rob a Southside service station attendant on Tuesday night.
But what Mr Duke didn't see was more interesting than what he saw.
Mr Duke and his employee Mitch Jensen had worked late at Mr Duke's automotive business on Tuesday night. They topped for fuel at the Woolgar Rd station on their way home.
By the time the tank was full, a female service station employee allegedly had been confronted by Southside father-of-five Rodney Karl Ehrnholm armed with a knife.
Police alleged Mr Ehrnholm entered the station around 9.20pm and asked the console operator for money and displayed a knife.
They further alleged 46-year-old Mr Ehrnholm told the operator he was also carrying a gun.
Police said he did not leave with any money and turned himself into police.
The incident was so subtle that Mr Duke said he and Mr Jensen did not know anything had gone wrong until Mr Duke went to pay for the fuel and found himself locked out of the shop.
"I think it might have happened right in front of our faces but we didn't see it," Mr Duke said.
He said the console operator opened the doors for him and other customers after making a phone call and told them what had gone on right under their noses.
Mr Duke said security arrived soon after and as he drove away, he saw police arresting a man just metres from the service station.
He said was the climax of an eerie night when he had already felt suspicious of other people around town, including one shirtless man who looked like he was hid-ing near shops in the same complex as the service station.
Mr Duke said he and Mr Jensen had joked to lock the doors after seeing the man, mainly because Mr Duke's children were in the car.
The discomfort ran deep enough for them to act on the joke and actually lock the doors.
Mr Duke said he did not think the shirtless man was the same man he saw under arrest minutes later.
OTHER COURT NEWS
Mr Ehrnholm appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday morning, charged with attempted armed robbery as well as separate charges of producing dangerous drugs between December 14 and 17 and possessing property suspected of having been used in connection with the commission of a drug offence on December 17.
He made a low-key appearance in the dock and put forward no genuine attempt for bail, despite initially telling the court if released "I'm not going to hurt anybody".
"I'm not going to do anything," he said.
The matter was adjourned to today in order for Mr Ehrnholm to seek the assistance of a duty lawyer.
He will remain in police custody until after the appearance.