Just three days after Crime Stoppers released a list of Australia’s 20 most wanted criminals, nine have been arrested.
The list – part of the organisation’s Operation Roam: Rogue Radar – calls for Australians to be on the lookout for serious offenders thought to be hiding in plain sight in communities across the country.
Since the list was released to the public on Monday, “nine offenders have been arrested or have voluntarily made contact with the police regarding their wanted status,” Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia, Trevor O’Hara, said.
Among those arrested are 23-year-old Brendan Lees, who was wanted by Victoria Police for the alleged sexual assault of a woman in 2016, and 42-year-old Jayson Aworth, wanted in relation to charges for aggravated sexual assault that occurred earlier this year.
There are still two fugitives still wanted in New South Wales, two in Queensland, four in Victoria, two in South Australia and one in the Northern Territory.
The full list of wanted fugitives can be viewed here.
It’s the stuff of nightmares, the thought of monsters hiding in plain sight. The same people who’ve killed or raped or sold drugs or trafficked women for sex, serving you your morning coffee or scanning your grocery items or opening your letterbox to deliver post early in the mornings.
This year, there are 20 wanted fugitives named on Crime Stoppers’ ‘Rogue Radar’ list – a list of wanted serious criminals who are at loose around the country. The organisation is asking for the public’s help locating these offenders in an initiative called ‘Operation Roam: Rogue Radar’ to run from 21 to 27 August 2017.
"The individuals named in this year’s Operation Roam are responsible for a range of offences, including murder and armed robbery," Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia Trevor O’Hara said in a press release.
"These criminals could be working alongside you in your community. It might be a new person you’ve noticed in your area or a more familiar face such as a neighbour, work colleague, friend or even a family member."
There is John Victor Bobak, who's been on the run since 1991 when he executed Peter George Wade and Maureen Ambrose in Surfers Paradise, Queensland. Police say the murders were premeditated and Bobak hasn't been seen since.
Except, of course he has been seen and talked to and worked alongside by people who have no idea of his dark, voilent past. Crime Stoppers is hoping, by circulating his image and raising awareness through 'Operation Roam', the public might help deliver justice to the families of Wade and Ambrose who've been grieving for 25 years.
There are newer cases, too. Jonathan Dick from Victoria is wanted for the murder of his brother, David Dick, a carpenter and cricketer, who was attacked in the carpark of Westfield Doncaster in February.
The episode of Casefile you need to listen to. Post continues below.
Jonathan, who reportedly has a mental health condition, used a sword to take his brother's life. His car, and the sword were dumped, and there've been several false alarm sightings of the fugitive in the months since.
There are several people who've breached their parole: Clint Brilley from NSW who was involved in stealing $1.2 million of mobile phones in a 2002 armed robbery; Phillip John Cream from South Australia who was convicted of aggravated serious criminal trespass; Gene Nicholas Hawkins in the Northern Territory who was convicted for the possession of a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.
Last year Crime Stoppers did the same thing, releasing to the public 19 persons of interest. At the end of the week, the information provided by members of the public helped police arrest 11 of 19 of those offenders.
A word of warning, however: "Many of these people are wanted for a range of serious offences so we advise members of the public to put them on your radar but do not approach them under any circumstances."
"Simply contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report your information online via crimestoppers.com.au," O'Hara said.