It started like a terrifying scene from a Hollywood mob movie as four masked men held up a bookmakers armed with an imitation gun and a hammer.
But it quickly descended into farce for the hapless gang as they named one of their members at the scene of the city hold-up – before that robber posted a thinly-veiled confession on Facebook.
After the armed robbery at Ladbrokes on Portobello High Street on March 2, Gary Pacitti wrote: “I love money, that’s my problem”.
The post, which also included an “ashamed” emoticon symbol, was spotted by his sister – and when she asked her brother what he had done he replied: “Ladbrokes Portobello.”
And the crook’s troubles continued when officers caught up with him a week later – but he was too drunk to be interviewed.
Unemployed Pacitti donned a hooded top and dust mask to disguise himself during the raid – but as the gang fled with £4100 and a watch taken from a manager, one of the robbers said: “Gary, this way.”
Pacitti’s DNA was then found on the dust mask recovered near their Audi getaway car, which was abandoned near Danderhall.
The day before the hold-up, Pacittii, formerly of Bellenden Gardens, wrote on his Facebook page saying: “Five year for a few grand – no thank you”, but later wrote that he was “feeling lucky”.
He was arrested on March 9, and later wrote: “Looking at a nice 7 year . . . you win some, you lose some.” And since being jailed at HMP Edinburgh he has posted that he was “Lovin life in Costa Del Saughton”.
The 21-year-old was on bail, deferred sentence, a drug treatment and testing order and a community payback order at the time of the raid, the High Court in Edinburgh heard yesterday.
Pacitti admitted assaulting one man and robbing him of an Armani watch and money while acting with others.
One of the raiders wearing a white forensic suit brandished the imitation gun at the customer services manager and told him: “Dinnae press any buttons.”
Advocate depute David Nicolson told the court that cash was taken from a safe and tills, and that none of the stolen goods were recovered.
Mr Nicolson said: “One of the customers within the premises heard the suspects shout ‘Sorry guys, but it’s what we do’.”
Judge Lord Kinclaven deferred sentence on Pacitti for reports and remanded him in custody. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow next month.
The three other members of the Ladbrokes robbery gang
remain at large.