Melbourne police on Monday arrested a 35-year-old man after a woman was held hostage in a restaurant in the central part of the city for several hours. Abijath Desikan was charged with false imprisonment, armed robbery and assault with a weapon after an eight-hour attack on the Ludlow restaurant in the Southbank area.
The man had entered the restaurant with a knife late Sunday evening.
Police negotiated with him for the woman's release and she was let go early Monday. Following this, they moved in and tasered the man, the BBC reported. He was apprehended and taken to a local hospital where he remains under police guard.
Authorities believe the man had been working at the restaurant until recently. "At this stage it's really the subject of an ongoing investigation but he's disgruntled about some employment issues with the restaurant," Inspector Travis McCarthy told reporters, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.
He added that the female staff member who was taken hostage did not seem to be explicitly targeted in any way. "There is nothing to indicate that any direct threats were made to her," he said.
The woman was assessed at the scene and no injuries were found on her, but McCarthy said that the trauma from the incident would likely have affected her.
A former restaurant manager from the area named Storm, who is a close friend of the hostage, said she was in “utter shock” after hearing about the incident, AAP reported, citing Fairfax Radio. "Nobody could imagine what it's like to be in a situation like that," she said.