More than 200 of Victoria, Australia’s 400+ pokies gaming venues are located in the capitol city of Melbourne. Eight of those locations across six different suburbs have been robbed in the last few months, and authorities are confident that they are all related. According the lead inspector in the case, police believe a brash Middle Eastern crime syndicate is responsible for all of the pokies robberies, having absconded with over $100,000. With two men already in custody, authorities are hoping that by releasing as much information as possible, the public can help apprehend the remaining members of the gang.
All of the armed robberies took place between the date of June 2nd and August 11th. A throng of similarities have been noted throughout each of the business raids, leading authorities to believe they are all connected. During each incident, there were two to four young men involved, reported to be between the ages of 16 and 25. All of the robberies were violent in nature, with the culprits threatening employees and patrons alike with guns and knives.
Video surveillance cameras caught footage of the perpetrators entering several of the pokies venues, each wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts, and brandishing weapons upon entrance. They proceeded to smash the security screens and assault patrons, threatening the staff and demanding money.
Detective Inspector Stephen Clark of the armed crime squad told reporters, “Patrons have been assaulted and the offenders don’t seem to care about how many people are in the venue.” He later added that, “Armed robberies are, by their very nature, crimes of violence and traumatic to staff and patrons.”
Inspector Clark went on to describe the relation between each of the cases. “It appears, at this stage, that the armed robberies have been committed by the same Middle Eastern crime syndicate. On each occasion, the offenders … were armed with a firearm and an edged weapon and threatened staff.”
Two men from Roxburgh Park, aged 16 and 22, have already been taken into custody and charged in connection with three of the alleged pokies robberies. Authorities are hoping that, by releasing still frames of the video, including a close-up, angled photo of one of the men’s faces and a photofit of another, the public can help bring the remaining assailants to justice.
These criminals are considered armed and very dangerous. Please take a moment to view the video photos of the Melbourne pokies assailants supplied by the Herald Sun, and contact authorities immediately with any information you may have.
All of the armed robberies took place within the span of 3 months. The first incident took place on June 2nd at a pokies club in Epping on O’Herns Road. The second occurred just six days later on Aviation Road in Laverton. On June 17th, they hit another venue in Thomastown on Mahoneys Road. The culprits became even more rash in July when they struck the same pokies club, located on Sunshine Avenue in Kealba, twice in a row, once on the 14th and again on the 22nd. Four days later, the alleged Middle Eastern gang is believed to have robbed another gaming venue in Fawkner on Sydney Road, and another on the same road on August 1st. Their last alleged strike occurred on August 11th in Monnee Ponds along Maribyrnong Road.