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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Hume crime gang violence has increased

POLICE say they have stepped up efforts to tackle a notorious family crime gang operating in Hume following a series of shootings in the past couple of weeks.
Det Supt Richard Grant, head of Operation Lased, a taskforce set up last October to halt the gang, conceded police were premature with their recent decision to scale down the taskforce's operations following a series of arrests.
"At least one of these people have been released on bail after a three-day contested bail hearing," Det Supt Grant said. "Since this person has been back out the violence has increased and our response to that has been an increase in the number of patrols."We now have in place a strategic plan which we are confident will reduce the crime."On Thursday last week, police arrested two men over the shooting of a man in Gladstone Park on April 9.Police say the victim was a known associate of the crime familyA 26-year-old Port Melbourne man and a 35-year-old man from an unknown address were charged with firearms offences and refused bail.In a second incident police believe linked to the gang, a Coolaroo home was firebombed and at least five gunshots fired on April 14. A further attack on Broadmeadows home may also be linked, police say.
These are in addition to attacks in Broadmeadows, Glenroy, Fawkner, Campbellfield, Gladstone Park, Mill Park and Thomastown during the past 18 months.
Region 3 Det Insp Frank Neagle said the four alleged core members of the gang had been arrested and charged in February and March. But three were released on bail with conditions and curfews.Det Insp Neagle said that, since Operation Lased began, 21 arrests had been made.


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