The theft of four firearms from a rural property in March 2018 would set off a chain of events resulting in an armed robbery, and the shooting of an innocent man. This crime remains unsolved today.
Today, Crime Stoppers Victoria release Warning Shot, a podcast analysing this unsolved 2018 shooting in Mulgrave, in partnership with Victoria Police.
A media stand-up will be held at 10am on Monday, 2 September 2019 at the Victoria Police Centre Media Room, where Detective Inspector Dean Thomas, true crime author Geoff Wilkinson and Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Stella Smith will address the media.
Stella Smith, Crime Stoppers Victoria Executive Officer, knows that someone out there knows something that will help Victoria Police solve this case.
“This podcast highlights the direct affect that illegal guns have on the community.
“The victims, witnesses and community still live without knowing who committed this audacious crime.
The podcast, hosted by Crime Stoppers founder and true crime author Geoff Wilkinson, focuses on an armed robbery at a gaming venue in Waverley Gardens, Mulgrave in March last year. It details how the incident unfolded through first-hand accounts from witnesses, as well as commentary from Armed Crime squad investigators.
The incident began with a residential burglary at a property in Cockatoo on Thursday 1 March 2018, the day before the armed robbery.
Four firearms – two rifles and two shotguns, including one that had belonged to the victim’s grandfather – were stolen from a licensed firearms owner during the burglary.
About 5.45pm the next day, a silver Mitsubishi 380 sedan with false registration plates was seen parked on Ascot Drive in Noble Park North, only about 200m from the shopping centre.
An unknown man was captured on dash-cam footage removing the number plate from another car in the street.
Shortly before 6.10pm, the silver Mitsubishi was captured on CCTV entering the multi-storey car park at Waverley Gardens with three people on board.
The vehicle had a distinctive black steel wheel on the front passenger side.
Two men exited the vehicle, while the driver remained inside.
The men then entered a gaming venue at the shopping centre carrying a guitar case, which held at least two firearms.
Once inside the premises, they opened the case and armed themselves with a firearm each before telling patrons to get on the ground.
One man went behind the counter and pointed his gun at a staff member, demanding cash from her.
The second man remained on the gaming floor, patrolling the area where the patrons were.
After taking a quantity of money, the first man started to leave the venue however he was confronted by a male patron and a scuffle ensued.
The second man then hit the patron in the head with the butt of his firearm, causing a significant cut.
The men then ran back to their vehicle in the car park with a number of patrons still following them.
While in the car park, the second man discharged his firearm and the shot struck the ceiling before ricocheting into the same male patron’s stomach.
He was subsequently conveyed to hospital and a bullet was eventually removed from his stomach.
The two men got back into the silver Mitsubishi and as they attempted to drive off, another patron pushed a trolley into the passenger side of their car.
At the time of the incident, the first man was wearing a grey hooded jumper, camouflage pants and a facial mask, and was also carrying a hi-vis orange backpack.
The second man was wearing a black Everlast brand hooded jumper, dark pants, black shoes with white soles and a mask or similar covering his face. He was also carrying the guitar case.
Investigators have since compiled a digital composite image of a man they wish to speak to in relation to the armed robbery and shooting.
Today they are also releasing CCTV from the venue, as well as the dash-cam footage which captured the number plate theft.
Detective Inspector Dean Thomas of the Armed Crime Squad hopes that this podcast and today’s appeal will generate the information Victoria Police need to solve this case.
“Warning Shot is a true story, the victims are real people, and we know that someone listening will have information that can help bring them justice.
“These are brazen criminals, and we need to get them off Victorian streets. We implore anyone with information to come forward and share what they know.
“They might think it’s nothing, but it might just be the final piece of the puzzle that we need to solve this crime.”
Stella Smith urged the community to get behind this case.
“Together with the Victorian community and Victoria Police, we can solve this case.
“If you know anything about this case, or if a family member or close friend has an illegal gun, we are urging you to call Crime Stoppers and report what you know.
“Submit your report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.”