Police have arrested a man over an alleged break-in and theft of an elderly war veteran in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood. Police will allege the 90-year-old victim was tricked into allowing a man access to his house by a man who claimed to be a tradesman and offered to high pressure clean parts of his home. A number of items were stolen from the victim’s house including cash and the wedding rings of his late wife and father. The 22-year-old alleged offender was part of a group of travelling gypsies targeting elderly residents and the other more vulnerable members of the community, according to police. He was arrested at a home in Wilberforce. He was refused bail prior to an appearance in Penrith court. Measures to protect against home break-in that are recommended by police include deadlocks on doors, key locks on windows and perimeter lighting. A monitored house alarm is also recommended.
A professional robbery ring with international links is believed to be behind more than $2.5 million worth of jewellery thefts across Sydney. Detectives formed Strike Force Warbrick in June this year to investigate a series of robberies targeting employees in the wholesale jewellery industry. The thefts occurred in inner Sydney over a five-month period. One person has been arrested and remains before the court, but detectives believe a number of other people could be involved. Images of suspects captured on CCTV cameras have been released. Detective Inspector Damian Beaufils from the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad said the three males depicted in the footage were of South American appearance and aged in their mid to late 20s. At least five people were believed to working together. “These were clearly targeted robberies which had been carefully orchestrated, and our inquiries to date suggest they are the work of a criminal gang with international links,” he said.
A fight erupted outside a Melbourne court after three teens were sentenced over a string of violent armed robberies. Protective Service officers and security guards had to break up the fight between feuding family members of those convicted. Terrified onlookers watched as the feud spilled out of the courtroom and continued on the street outside Melbourne’s County Court. The teens were convicted over a string of 14 armed robberies that saw more than $20,000 of cash and goods stolen between November and December last year. Luke Jolly-Bishop, 19, Paige Thomas and Rochelle Davidson, both 18, pleaded guilty to their involvement in the six-week crime spree. The trio, and another co-accused who cannot be named, terrorised staff at petrol stations, bottle shops and supermarkets in Melbourne’s outer south-eastern suburbs. Axes, tomahawks, knives and machetes were used in the well-planned and violent attacks. Some victims were assaulted during the robberies. The raids prompted many businesses in the area to review their commercial security.
The number of bank hold-ups in Queensland has been increasing for the first time in 10 years — and at an alarming rate. The Finance Sector Union is alarmed by a spate of 14 bank hold-ups in south-east Queensland since May last year and fears the trend towards open-plan branches may be making banks more appealing for would-be thieves to target. Measures such as CCTV security systems and pop-up screens had made banks difficult for thieves to target, but the move away from having tellers behind screens and to having some staff out among bank customers could be changing that perception. “Traditionally, offenders have leaned towards soft targets such as convenience stores and service stations, and police put a lot of effort into encouraging business owners to target-harden their premises,” Police South Eastern regional Crime Co-ordinator Dave Hutchinson said. “Banks routinely have high levels of security installed and this provides a real deterrent to prospective offenders.”
A man has been charged with 15 offences after a series of home break-ins across the NSW Central Coast. The 36-year-old from Chain Valley Bay was arrested at a home in Lake Munmorah following an investigation by the Tuggerah Lakes drug and anti-theft squad. A string of break-ins was committed throughout June and July at homes in Canton Beach, Doyalson North, Wamberal, Cooranbong, Long Jetty, Gorokan, Halekulani, Kanwal and Charmhaven. Most occurred at the homes of elderly people and typically resulted in the theft of cash. The break-ins serve as a prompt to those considering installation of a home security system. Following his arrest, the man was taken to Wyong police station and charged with 10 counts of aggravated breaking, entering and stealing and five counts of driving while suspended. Tuggerah Lakes police would like to speak to any elderly people on the Central Coast who believe they may have had cash or a wallet stolen from their home.
Police are investigating a series of thefts from parked cars in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. At least 17 thefts have taken place in Thornbury, Reservoir and Northcote during the spree. Personal belongings such as wallets and sunglasses have been stolen. Most of the thefts have occurred at nights and on weekends. Detectives from the Darebin Crime Investigation Unit have urged anyone whose car has been vandalised or broken into to contact them. The unit’s Recidivist Offender Team is investigating the incidents. “This is a timely reminder to owners to remove valuables from vehicles at night, especially wallets, sunglasses and power tools,” a police spokesperson said. Vehicle owners should ensure their vehicle is locked when left unattended. Installing a security alarm can also be an effective deterrent to thieves. Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Bars and clubs could be forced to renew their liquor licences every year under proposals being considered by the NSW Government. Crisis measures to curb alcohol-fuelled violence could also include extending the power to enforce 1am or 2am lockouts across the state. The proposals came from a working group set up at the instigation of Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. No liquor licences have been cancelled or suspended since September 2008, when such decisions were taken out of the hands of the now-defunct Licensing Courts. With five new liquor licences granted across the state each week, there are now 15,115 liquor licences in NSW — about 3300 more than 12 years ago. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has backed the call for an annual renewal. She said this would put responsibility back on venues to do the right thing. Venues tend to rely on CCTV cameras and security guards to control alcohol-related violence.
A review of the NSW Government’s violent venues scheme will consider whether larger pubs and clubs linked to higher numbers of assaults should be given some consideration for the larger number of patrons they attract. Under the existing scheme, venues recording 19 or more violent incidents are classified as level 1 on the list, resulting in measures including a mandatory 2am lockout. Some consider the system unfair to larger venues with more patrons. “We have always maintained that it is manifestly unfair to compare a place like Panthers to a small country pub,” John Green, from the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association, said. But President of the NSW Police Association, Scott Weber, said there was no point making different rules for different players when the list was working. “We need laws that will stop alcohol-related crime in its tracks so that everyone can enjoy their night out safely, free from the threat of violence.” Venues both large and small employ security measures such as CCTV surveillance.
Successful trials of hotel lockouts in NSW aimed at curbing drunken violence have prompted calls for such trials to be extended. Lockouts that ban patrons entering licensed premises after a late night deadline but allow those already inside to keep drinking have been trialled successfully in Newcastle and Wollongong. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said a lot of the violence police dealt with resulted when a person left one venue for another. “If there’s no other venue for them to go to and they’re locked in then we know that, in Newcastle particularly, that has reduced the level of violence,” he said. The Police Association has also been pushing for the Newcastle system, where lockouts are enforced at pubs from 1am and pubs close at 3am, to be introduced across the state. Many individual hotels have, in addition to security monitoring, trialled lockouts, serving alcohol in plastic cups and early closures.
A teenager who unleashed a terrifying six-week crime spree in Melbourne has been jailed for a minimum of two years and 10 months. Luke Jolly-Bishop, 19, and a 16-year-old accomplice, committed 14 armed robberies late last year. A court was told the pair were inspired to hit “soft targets” after viewing the TV movie The Postcard Bandit, which is loosely based on the exploits of one of Australia’s most notorious criminals, Brenden James Abbott. The pair terrorised staff and stole about $20,000 in cash, cigarettes or alcohol at petrol stations, bottle shops and supermarkets — outlets that are sometimes seen as easy targets despite their security camera systems — in Melbourne’s outer south-eastern suburbs. Judge Joe Gullaci said the crimes had been well-planned and executed despite being committed during Jolly-Bishop’s “spiralling ice addiction.” The judge said no one should be confronted by bandits wielding potentially lethal weapons.