Another day in the world’s most liveable city:
MORE than 65 powerful handguns are destined for Melbourne’s underworld after masked armed bandits raided a firearms shop on Monday.
Police confirmed this morning that an audit has revealed the extent of the theft from the High St business. An organised gang suspected of being behind the raid on O’Reilly’s Firearms in Thornbury, in which four armed robbers, one carrying a gun, stormed in just after 11am.
They smashed glass cases with a sledgehammer and threatened a worker. It has emerged the vehicle used by the bandits was a white Toyota Kluger. It was stolen from a Glenroy address in December. Police have not revealed what weapons were stolen.
But O’Reilly’s Firearms stock includes Glock, Ruger, Remington and Browning pistols, which are popular in the underworld. The most recent crime data shows that, statewide, more than 2310 guns were stolen in the past three years, 760 of them in 2016-2017.
The guns likely to be among those stolen retail for $700 to $1800, but could fetch up to $10,000 on the black market. Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said police were concerned owing to the number of guns that were stolen.
“We’re putting all our resources into recovering these weapons,” Mr Fontana said. “The offenders have done their planning and knew what they were looking for.” Armed Crime Squad detectives were last night gathering evidence from the smashed-up gun shop.
Investigators were considering whether there were links to other robberies. Almost a year ago, a gang armed with a gun and sledgehammers robbed South Morang Hunting, Fishing and Camping, stealing firearms including five handguns.
A staff member at that shop said Monday’s robbery seemed similar. The bandits a year ago wore balaclavas, and one carried a silver gun; to his knowledge, those robbers were still on the loose. Shop security had since been upgraded with a buzz-in, electronically operated bulletproof door and an entry limit of one person at a time. Handguns were no longer shown in glass cabinets.
“You have to rethink your whole security … They can’t come in unless we let them in,’’ he said. “The staff from our store empathise with them (Monday’s victims). Having experienced it we understand how they are feeling.”
The gun industry source said the heist would not have been the work of amateurs. He said O’Reilly’s was a professional and well-run gun shop. Typically heavily secured, these were rarely robbed because of the risk.
“It’d take big balls,” the source said. “There’s a chance of coming up against a gun behind the counter.” O’Reilly’s is part of the Halls Firearms group, which calls itself Australia’s largest gun dealer.
They supply high-powered firearms and ammunition for hunting as well as gunsmith services, including firearm repairs, re-barrelling and trigger adjustments. The licensed dealers stock dozens of firearm types, including 22 styles of handgun retailing for up to $2349.
Handguns — normally bought by licence holders for recreational shooting or by those in the security industry — are kept in glass cabinets. Other firearms are secured on wall racks.
Police said a male staff member at the store was not hurt during the incident.
As you can see, the usual “high powered” garbage from the Herald Sun. Apparently Victoria Police wouldn’t reveal what the guns stolen were but the Herald Sun, and it’s Alannah and Madeline Foundation board member Peter Blunden, couldn’t wait to make up what they and their alleged street value were. Yawn.
Aside from the Herald Sun, the media set out to victim blame the gun dealer as the perpetrator of this crime and accuse them of not having adequate storage laws and systems in place to protect against this kind of thing.
Great, can’t wait for the same consistent line of argument on the next victim of a home invasion or rape victim from these same commentators. Looking at you, Neil Mitchell.
The suggestion that “they shouldn’t have handguns on display” is ridiculous. O’Reilly’s, much like Barry’s in WA, already complies with the strictest storage requirements necessary for maintaining a dealer’s licence. Why shouldn’t your products be on display? Should jewellery stores, that have been the target of armed robberies throughout Victoria, also not showcase their products?
These are legitimate businesses selling legal products. Guess we better start closing car dealerships in case we get another Bourke Street or Flinders Street, right? And on it goes.
The slew of keyboard and media experts spruiking this angle, while not knowing what the actual requirements are for a dealer’s licence, best keep their mouths shut than remove all doubt and prove themselves a fool.
No doubt that Police Minister Lisa Neville and Victoria Police will somehow use this to try and punish the people doing the right thing again and in some ways, it seems an amazing stroke of luck for their cause that just as Victoria Police were pushing for new firearm laws, a dealer gets knocked off.
Victoria Police have short memories, considering they lost over 200 firearms back in 2010 and crooks listening in to their radios while doing safe inspections were responsible for a string of thefts from rural properties.
This is also eerily similar to the Barry’s Firearms robbery in WA last year. Although not as forceful, a firearms dealer targeted for handguns and then victim blamed despite complying with the law.
Note to legislators and Police: tightening storage laws will do absolutely nothing and you know it. You’ll just put more Victorian businesses under pressure and do absolutely nothing to solve crime. Meanwhile, 3% of containers checked at Melbourne Port but that’s in the too hard basket.
If you want to stop firearm dealers getting robbed – arm them, it’s the most logical thing to do. There’s no reason that those same dealers and staff who are already experts in their chosen craft, that are already vetted and licenced, cannot carry for protection of self and property of this nature.
Here’s a tip for journos, this is what happens when you try to rob a gun store in the United States:
This what it our gun laws have currently come to: a business that sells legal tools has to wait on a third party to come and use their tools, the same tools that they are selling, to protect them from a robbery. Absurd.
Australia: where we protect money, Brownlow votes and Politicians with firearms but not firearm dealers or your family.