Crimes That Changed Melbourne

Great Bookie Robbery

Date: 1976

The Great Bookie Robbery was a calculated heist that took place at the Victoria Club on  Queen St in Melbourne’s CBD. To this day nobody has been convicted and none of the $6million plus in stolen cash has been found.

The heist was reportedly carried our by a crime gang of six men who used an office space above the Victoria Club to systematically plan the robbery and hide the cash. They were disguised in repairman uniforms to avoid suspicion.

It took the gang just over 10 minutes to pull up in their getaway transport, ambush 31 hostages and transfer the cash to bags after using bolt cutters to remove padlocks from cash boxes and making an easy getaway before authorities were alerted.

One security guard was injured in the robbery. The gang used handguns and high powered rifles as weapons. Remarkably Police were never able to gather enough evidence to truly apprehend the culprits though it was commonly speculated who the men were.

 

Russell Street Bombing

Date: 27 March 1986

A deadly car bomb causing immense damage and shattered windows of buildings as far as a block away as it exploded outside the Russell Street Police Headquarters at 1pm March 27 1986.

Constable Angela Taylor lost her life and another 21 people were injured due to the explosion and shrapnel released from the car bomb.

Witnesses reported that a loud bang went off and smoke could be seen billowing from vantage points in the Melbourne CBD.

It was a horrifying revenge attack by two known criminals, Stanley Taylor and Craig Minogue obviously trying to inflict as much carnage and destruction as possible.

Taylor and Minogue were found guilty of the bombing attack and were sentenced to life imprisonment.

 

Hoddle Street Massacre

Date:  9 August 1987

Busy Hoddle Street in Clifton Hill was the scene of one of Melbourne’s most heinous premeditated crimes. Julian Knight was the perpetrator and only months before his crime he has been expelled from the Royal Military Academy for attacking a Sergeant with a knife.

Before 9pm Julian Knight hauled himself up on a platform behind a billboard armed with guns and ammunition and began shooting random drivers and pedestrians on busy Hoddle Street. Knight murdered 7 people and injured 19 more. The scene was chaotic with people running for their lives. When Police arrived they were unable to locate Knight for a number of hours as he was so well hidden.

He fled the scene and led police on a chase through Melbourne’s streets, with police cars and a police helicopter in pursuit. After a 30 minute chase he was cornered by Police and surrendered.

Unsurprisingly Knight was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars. He remains in custody today.

 

Queen Street Massacre

Date: 8 December 1987

It has been over 25 years since Frank Vitkovic walked into the Australia Post building on Queen Street. Vitkovic hunted down and senselessly killed eight employees and wounding many more.

The motive was thought to be an attack on Frank Viktovic’s old school friend Con Margelis, who amazingly survived the shooting. By small mercy, if the weapon Viktovic was carrying had not been faulty many more people could have lost their lives that day.

After a failed attempt at gunning down Margelis, Viktovic went from floor to floor shooting innocent people that were hiding under desk and  in store rooms desperately trying to avoid the gun man.

Eight people were killed  and more would have died if not for the heroics of Tony Giola and a wounded Frank Carmody. They saw an opportunity and tackled Vitkovic disarming him while he was trying to reload his malfunctioning firearm. Struggling all the way, Victovic was able to pull himself to a smashed window and fling himself to his death.

 

Karmein Chan Kidnapping and Murder

Date: 13 April 1991

Karmein Chan was a 13 year old school girl when she was abducted from her home in Templestowe in 1991. She was an easy target, alone in the family home while her parents were both at work at their Chinese restaurant.

She is thought to have been the victim of a serial offender, Mr Cruel, although this has never been proven and he has never been caught or identified. Mr Cruel is a suspect in more unanswered cases.

Karmein’s body was found 12 months after she was taken, at Edgar’s Creek in Thomastown. Victoria Police carried out an exhaustive search to try and locate any evidence in Karmein’s abduction. A new taskforce was established in 2010 to try and piece together the crime. Victoria Police are still keen to hear from any one who has information that could assist in solving this crime.

 

Abandoned three year old, Pumpkin

5 September 2007

 The Qian Xun Xue (Dubbed “Pumpkin” by the Police) case began when a father abandoned his 3 year old daughter at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne CBD. The next day he boarded a plane for the USA leaving Qian Xun Xue alone in Melbourne. The question everyone was asking was, why would he leave his daughter?

Pumpkin was quickly placed in foster care while Police investigated.

Later it was discovered that her mother was missing in New Zealand, with her body being discovered not long after Pumpkin was found at Southern Cross Station.

With New Zealand and Australian Police working in tandem, the story was pieced together and an arrest warrant was issued for Nai Yin Xue. A “red alert” was put out in Los Angeles, but he took flight across the United States.

It was the heroics of a group of 6 people living in an apartment block in Atlanta, Georgia that saw a wanted poster and apprehended Nai Yin Xue, ending his 24 week run from the law.

Xue was deported to New Zealand in 2008 to face charges over the murder of his wife. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in jail, with a minimum non-parole period of twelve years. Pumpkin now lives safely with her grandparents.

 

The murder of Jill Meagher

 21 September 2012

 The disappearance of Jill Meagher sent the social media world into overdrive, asking for clues as to what happened to Jill after she left a local Brunswick bar late one night to walk the 550m to the nearby apartment she shared with her husband.

A serial criminal with a violent past had ambushed Jill, raping and strangling her in a nearby alleyway. This crime sent a shock wave through Melbourne. It was so violent, random and brazen and it resounded deeply with the Victorian community.

Community calls to Crime Stoppers, CCTV footage and intense police investigations all provided valuable intelligence to investigators a net was drawn around the main suspect. Five days later 41 year old parolee Adrian Bailey was in custody. Bailey led Police to Gisborne South in rural Victoria, where he had buried Jill’s body in a shallow grave.

Adrian Bailey was found guilty and jailed for 35 years. He will be 76 years old before he is eligible for parole. The Victorian Government has since changed the parole laws to be much tougher on repeat offenders due to this case.

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