A HERVEY Bay fish-and-chip shop owner fought off a balaclava-clad thief by dragging him away from her cash register and throwing him towards a vat of hot oil.
Fraser Shores Seafood owner Colleen Gamble first thought it was a prank when two men covered head-to-toe in black walked in to the back of her shop on Friday night.
"You could see their eyes, that's all you could see," she said.
The men entered through the open back door of the shop about 8pm on Friday night.
While one man stayed in a backroom and threatened two staff members, his accomplice went straight for the cash register in the front of the store, where Ms Gamble and another staff member were cleaning after closing for the night.
As the thief attempted to take the cash register, a staff member dropped her broom and grabbed hold of the till, struggling with the robber.
It was then Ms Gamble told the thief, "No, you're not getting my till".
She launched herself away from the fryer where she had been changing the oil and wrapped her arms around the man's shoulders.
"I had to really reach because he was tall," she said of the moment she wrestled the robber away from her hard-earned money.
The struggle ended with the man leaning precariously over the fryer full of hot oil.
Ms Gamble said the robbers then ran from the store, grabbing a staff member's purse on the way out.
The dumped handbag was found in a field at the end of Beach Rd in Pialba, missing only a small amount of money.
Police believe the two male offenders are aged between 18 and 21.
The incident is the latest in a string of attempted break-ins and robberies across the Fraser Coast.
Ms Gamble said several other businesses in the Fraser Shores complex had been broken into previously, with some being hit twice.
Hervey Bay has also seen at least five armed robberies this year.
Phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if you have information on the crime at the shop on Boat Harbour Dr.