A total of 15 burglaries of pokies venues have taken place throughout the northern suburbs of Melbourne in the last four months. After the latest pokies robbery took place over the weekend, authorities are now asking for help from the public to identify the assailants.
It was a frightening scene on Saturday, March 7, when the pokies robbery gang hit yet another venue in Melbourne north; their fifteenth since December 7 of last year. At least four armed assailants entered the Roxburgh Park location, getting away with an undisclosed, but reportedly “substantial”, amount of money.
During this most recent pokies robbery, video surveillance cameras showed the security guard on duty being bashed in the face by one of the men with a butt of a rifle. Police now fear that the gang’s pattern for violence is escalating, thus they are renewing their appeal for any information from the public that could lead to the identification and capture of the gang.
In a previous pokies robbery on February 18, the gang allegedly yanked a mother and her 12 year old daughter from a car in an attempt to secure a getaway vehicle to escape from the crime scene.
“Armed robbery by its very nature is a violent crime,” explained Detective Inspector Steve Clark, head of the region’s armed task force. “But when we have a 12-year-old girl confronted with a firearm, when a guard is badly hurt, we’re concerned not only that they are violent, but that violence is escalating.”
It’s been confirmed that at least four armed assailants have been involved in each pokies robbery, and their brash nature is clearly frightening the community. “Witnesses are understandably traumatized,” said Detective Inspector Clark. “People have gone in there to eat a meal or play a poker machine only to be confronted by men armed with firearms and knives.”
Surveillance video taken from multiple pokies robbery locations throughout the area show the culprits have been armed with a wide range of weaponry that include everything from pistols and shotguns, to clip-point knives and machetes. It was also noted that no gun shots have ever been fired during the gang’s strain of hold ups.
Police recently made a breakthrough in the investigation when they got an anonymous tip that a “distinctive machete” used during the February 18 pokies robbery could be traced back to a particular hardware store in Melbourne. Authorities are hoping that same person will be able to provide more information into the violent robberies.
Police are asking the public to take a close look at the surveillance video shown above (more videos from past robberies can be seen here). Authorities are asking that viewers pay special attention to the man with the red shirt tied tightly enough around his head to reveal many of his facial features (see image above).
Anyone who can provide any information to please come forth. You can contact your local law enforcement agency, call Crime Stoppers at 1800-333-000, or make a confidential report to Crime Stoppers Australia Online.