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Man charged over robbing banks with sledgehammer

A man has been charged over the daring daylight robbery of two Sydney banks with a sledgehammer.
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William Caldwell has been charged over his alleged involvement in the robbery of the Westpac bank in Kent Street in Sydney’s central business district on September 13 and the Bendigo Bank branch at Pyrmont on October 11.

Police allege he was also involved in the robbery of the Sydney Credit Union at Leichhardt on October 17, when thieves smashed their way into the building to access a safe and stole money.

The 30-year-old has also been charged with the robbery of a convenience store in Sydney’s CBD on September 10.

Caldwell was arrested at Marrickville on Monday morning after investigations by Strike Force Threshing, which was established to investigate five robberies – at least four of which involved the use of a sledgehammer.

They included the robbery of the Westpac bank in Sydney’s CBD at 11.15am on a Friday.

It is alleged that during the robbery a stolen Porsche Cayenne was driven into the back of the bank and two masked men jumped out.

Witnesses said that the pair were armed with sledgehammers and ran into the bank, where they confronted staff and made off with cash.

Minutes later, a man ran from the building, carrying bags, and jumped into a stolen blue Subaru WRX, where a driver was waiting. The entire robbery took less than five minutes.

After the incident at the bank in Pyrmont a month later, witnesses again described two men with a sledgehammer who fled with cash in a blue Subaru WRX.

On Monday, Caldwell was charged with four counts of robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon in relation to the robberies at Pyrmont, Leichhardt and the Sydney CBD convenience store.

Caldwell is also facing six counts of aggravated breaking, entering and stealing in relation to the Kent Street incident, and incidents at a number of other inner Sydney businesses, as well as 12 counts of driving a conveyance and two counts of malicious damage.

He is the second person to be charged by Strike Force Threshing after the arrest of a 20-year-old man in Pyrmont last week in relation to the Sydney Credit Union robbery in Leichhardt.

Caldwell appeared briefly before Newtown Local Court on Monday afternoon, where a bail application was denied.

The matter will return to court on December 12.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the five robberies.

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