Police yesterday arrested eight people and executed 14 warrants across Victoria as part of an investigation into a burglary in Shepparton last month where a number of firearms were stolen.
Detectives from Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit, Illicit Firearms Squad, Geelong Crime Investigation Unit, Eastern Region Crime Squad, Western Region Crime Squad and the Echo Taskforce executed the warrants on 16 September at the following residential addresses:
• Numurkah Road, Shepparton;
• Clarence Street, Shepparton;
• King Richard Drive, Shepparton;
• Knight Street, Shepparton;
• Cameron Avenue, Shepparton;
• Palmer Road, Shepparton;
• Blair Court, Shepparton;
• Darling Court, Shepparton;
• Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne;
• Lyon Street, Essendon;
• Smeaton Close, Lara;
• Halliwell Court, Corio;
• Empress Boulevard, Ocean Grove; and
• Seabeach Parade, North Shore.
Eight people were arrested and charged including the following:
• A 32-year-old Shepparton man was charged with burglary, theft of firearm, possession of traffickable quantity of firearms, prohibited person possess firearm, theft, fail to comply with 465AA court order, possess ammunition, recklessly cause injury, unlawful assault, assault by kicking and criminal damage;
• A 30-year-old Shepparton woman was charged with fail to comply with 465AA court order, commit an indictable offence whilst on bail and contravene bail conditions;
• A 42-year-old Shepparton man was charged with handle stolen goods, possess traffickable quantity of firearms, prohibited person possess firearm and commit indictable offence whilst on bail; and
• A 31-year-old Shepparton man was charged with burglary, theft of firearms, possess traffickable quantity of firearms, prohibited person possess firearm, possess ammunition and fail to comply with bail conditions.
All four were remanded to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court today (17 September).
• A 38-year-old South Morang man charged with theft of motor vehicle, fail to comply with 465AA court order and drug possession. He was remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today;
• A 30-year-old Ocean Grove man charged with handle stolen good, acquire a firearm whilst a firearm prohibition order applies, possess a firearm whilst a firearm prohibition order applies, fail to comply with 465AA Court Order, commit indictable offence whilst on bail and possess traffickable quantity of firearms. He was remanded to appear at Geelong Magistrates’ Court today;
• A 47-year-old North Shore man was charged with drug and prohibited weapons offences. He has been bailed to appear at court at a later date; and
• A 36-year-old Corio man charged with fail to comply with 465AA Court Order, handle stolen goods and drug offences. He has been bailed to appear at court at a later date.
Police also seized drugs believed to be methylamphetamines and cannabis from a number of addresses in Shepparton and North Shore, as well as a stolen vehicle and several prohibited weapons including knives.
Yesterday’s operational activity forms part of a significant investigation by Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit into the burglary of a house on Apex Court in Shepparton in the early hours of 29 August.
During that incident four firearms, including three longarms and a handgun, were stolen along with ammunition and firearms accessories.
No one was home at the time of the incident and when the resident returned later that morning, he became aware of the theft and subsequently contacted police.
The investigation into the incident, including the current whereabouts of the firearms, and any further links to the trafficking of illicit firearms remains ongoing.
Anyone with information about the use or trafficking of illicit firearms is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au
Quotes attributable to Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Paul Shortis, Shepparton CIU:
“These arrests and seizures are a fantastic result for the Shepparton community and highlight the commitment right across Victoria Police to target those involved in the use and trafficking of illicit firearms.
“It’s crucial for us that we not only hold those responsible for firearms-related crime to account, we also do everything we can to uncover links to those who could potentially be responsible for offending in the future.
“This investigation has been led by Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit, but you can see from these warrants that the impact of this burglary has extended well beyond just our local community.
“There’s no doubt there was the potential for these weapons to cause immense harm in other areas of the state, so we will continue to work with a range of other units from Crime Command and both Eastern and Western regions to follow up all avenues of enquiry.
“We know illicit firearms often heavily feature in some of our most serious and violent crimes, as well as within the drug trade.”
Quotes attributable to Detective Senior Sergeant Leigh Howse, Illicit Firearms Squad:
“The role Illicit Firearms Squad in investigations such as this is really to take the information obtained during the investigation and start to build a picture that includes those involved, who they are linked to, previous incidents they may have had involvement in, if the firearms have been used since the theft and if there are any indications of broader trends around areas such as trafficking.
The Illicit Firearms Squad will use this information to build our overall intelligence in relation to illicit firearms across Victoria in order to provide a greater level of understanding about what drives offending, key players and offender behaviours and trends.
By actively working to reduce the number of illicit firearms in the community, we will reduce the amount of serious crimes those weapons enable.”
The Illicit Firearms Squad is a team based within Victoria Police’s Crime Command that targets the manufacture, trafficking and use of illicit firearms across Victoria.