Police charge three with 37 offences over nine armed robberies at Lake Macquarie

Detectives have charged three men over their alleged roles in eight armed robberies at bowling clubs and a golf club across the Lake Macquarie region.

About 10pm on Saturday 23 February 2019, two men, armed with a knife and hammer, threatened staff at a bowling club in Rathmines, before stealing cash and property from the location.

About 1am on Wednesday 20 March 2019, two men, armed with hammer and a brick, attended a New Lambton bowling club.

The men threatened and assaulted a cleaner outside the club with a hammer but left the area empty handed.

Just after 12.30am on Sunday 31 March 2019, the men were armed with a knife, a brick and a metal pole, when they broke into a club at Telarah and stole cash.

On Friday 26 April 2019, two men, armed with a metal pole, stole a handbag from a staff member outside a bowling club in Boolaroo.

The men then used the keys inside the handbag to break into the club and steal cash.

Just after 1am on Wednesday 8 May 2019, while armed with an axe and a knife, two men broke into a golf clubhouse in Toronto, stole car keys and attempted to steal a car before leaving empty handed.

Shortly before 9.30pm on Monday 13 May 2019, two men, armed with a metal pole, threatened and assaulted a staff member at a bowling club in Edgeworth but fled empty handed.

In a separate incident, while armed with a crowbar, the men stole cash and property from the golf clubhouse in Toronto about 6.45pm on Friday 24 May 2019.

The State Crime Command’s Robbery and Serious Crime Squad took carriage of these investigations under Strike Force Bergs.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force investigators, with the assistance of specialist tactical officers, arrested a 24-year-old man at Fishing Point just before 7am yesterday (Thursday 6 June 2019).

Shortly after, detectives executed search warrants at the Fishing Point property, a home in Rathmines and another home in Bolton Point, where a second man, aged 36, was arrested.

Investigators located a firearm, ammunition, an axe, a motorcycle, clothing, documentation, and other items relevant to the investigation. They have been seized to undergo forensic examination.

A third man, aged 27, was arrested in Maitland later the same day and all three men were taken to Newcastle Police Station.

The 24-year-old man was charged with 17 offences, including:

  • nine counts of robbery armed with offensive weapon,
  • four counts of aggravated break and enter dwelling in company steal,
  • assault with intent to rob armed with offensive weapon,
  • assault with intent to rob armed offensive weapon wound/grievous bodily harm,
  • possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority, and
  • possess shortened firearm without authority.

The 27-year-old man was charged with 17 offences, including:

  • nine counts of robbery armed with offensive weapon,
  • four counts of aggravated break and enter dwelling in company steal,
  • assault with intent to rob armed with offensive weapon,
  • assault with intent to rob armed offensive weapon wound/grievous bodily harm,
  • possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority, and
  • possess shortened firearm without authority.

Police will allege in court that the men also broke into a licenced premises at Wangi on Sunday 12 May 2019.

Both men were refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today (Friday 7 June 2019).

The 36-year-old man was charged with accessory after the fact to robbery armed with offensive weapon, possess shortened firearm without authority, and possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority.

He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Toronto Local Court on Tuesday 18 June 2019.

Robbery and Serious Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, praised the work of investigators.

“In two of these incidents, members of the public were injured, and we know it’s not just physical injuries, it’s also psychological trauma these victims will carry as a result of the actions of these men,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“These brazen acts are completely unacceptable and place unnecessary fear into communities who want to visit their local clubs in peace.”

Investigations under Strike Force Bergs continue.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Bergs investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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