POLICE know that the Wonthaggi property shot at by masked men in the early hours of last Sunday morning is, or has previously been, a drug trafficking rendezvous.
They’ve executed search warrants there on numerous occasions.
And they believe that the three offenders, wearing balaclavas when they fired several shots into the garage at the White Road property, at around 2am on Sunday, are known to the occupants of the house.
As yet, though, none of the shooters has been identified.
And, officially at least, police are yet to link a 23 year old Tooradin man with the shooting incident, despite arresting him after a dramatic, eight-hour manhunt through the streets of North Wonthaggi.
This is despite locating a sawn-off shot gun in a bag allegedly dumped by the suspect during the chase along with other items including drugs and ammunition.
It all made for a dramatic day for police and a worrying situation for residents in the town, some of whom helped police with their inquiries after seeing a “man in a black t-shirt and shorts” jumping fences, running down lanes and hiding under houses.
A post on the police Facebook page ‘Eyewatch – Bass Coast Police Service Area’ sent social media into meltdown.
Here’s a response posted on the Sentinel-Times’ Facebook page:
“Glad they caught him. He was in my yard and under my house. Was quite scary!” said one local resident.
In the end, however, it was purely by chance that the man was finally taken into custody, at around 3pm, by Detective Senior Constable Eliza Burrows of the Bass Coast CIU.
Detective Burrows was reluctant to provide details of her “limited” role.
“I wasn’t on duty overnight. I wasn’t involved in that. It was purely by chance that I was visiting someone in the area at the time and I saw the person, who I’d had dealings with before.
“I just went over to him and asked if he was prepared to come in with me. He looked pretty exhausted and he agreed.”
A member of the Wonthaggi CFA offered support.
The handcuffed offender was taken away and peace restored.
Dramatic day in Wonthaggi
The events unfolded in dramatic circumstances in the early hours of Sunday morning when police received a call about shots being fired into a shed in White Road while people were inside.
It is also understood that children were in a nearby house at the time.
The masked men stole a car from the driveway of the property, with the keys still in the ignition, to make their getaway and this car was later reported on fire, in Chisholm Road, on the western outskirts of Wonthaggi.
Wonthaggi CFA attended at about 7am but the car was totally destroyed.
From first light, police continued to look for the culprits and, thanks to reports from residents, concentrated their efforts in North Wonthaggi where they were seen by locals chasing the male on foot through back yards and over fences. The activity prompted many of them to stay inside.
Social media lights up
Many locals living in the Wonthaggi North area witnessed the police chase, some saw the alleged offender and a lot registered their concerns online:
• Glad they caught him. He was in my yard and under my house. Was quite scary.
• Just going out to lock my car that I have never locked for years. Welcome to the future.
• This is the guy who was in our yard!
• I saw a guy dancing and fist pumping in a driveway in Oxford Way around 3 o’clock. Not sure if it’s related to this but seemed sus.
Others lamented the impact of ice on country towns:
• Really sad to see how much Wonthaggi has gone downhill in the last year!!
• WTF is going on in old Thaggi?? Sounds like an episode of “Housos” lol
• What’s going on? Ice is going on.
• Ice related for shore. That shit when they’re on their little high they’re nothing more than the walking dead of this generation.
• I live in Leongatha and it’s no better.