POLICE believe a sexual predator who has attacked several young girls in Sydney’s west may live with his parents or an older relative and has recently grown a goatee beard.
St Mary’s Superintendent Allan Harding today made a special plea to anyone who suspects their son, nephew or younger housemate of the attacks to come forward. Supt Harding said a 14-year-old girl last week became his tenth victim when she was attacked as she walked through a laneway near Snowdrift Close at St Clair on June 1, between 11.45am and noon.
Nine other girls aged between 11 and 14 had been dragged into bushland at knifepoint in parks and reserves at St Clair and Erskine Park in the past year, he said.
“It is highly likely that someone has good reason to suspect that the person they reside with is the person we are looking for,” Superintendent Harding said.
“If you know a person who matches the physical description and has also recently over the last few months grown a goatee beard, that’s the person we need to talk to.
“This person has to stop hoping that the offences are going to stop because they won’t.
“They have to realise that their silence is part of the reason these offences are continuing,” he said.
The attacker is described as being white/European in appearance, 180cm tall, 18 to 19 years old with a lightly tanned complexion, hairy arms, brown eyes and a goatee beard.
Officers attached to Strike Force Agriculture have examined more than 130 suspects with many leads generated from public information.
A permanent strike force had been in action for months and involved police, child protection workers and profilers.
Anyone with information should contact St Mary’s police on 9677 5099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
TWO men have staged a daring armed robbery on the NSW north coast, threatening a bank’s staff and customers while they raided cash supplies.
NSW Police said the two men entered a bank in First Avenue, Sawtell, south of Coffs Harbour, at about 3pm (AEST) yesterday armed with a knife.
Two staff members and a number of customers were forced to lie on the floor as one of the men jumped the counter and removed an amount of cash from the teller drawers.
Both fled the bank and were last seen running south on First Avenue and then into Boronia Street.
Anyone with information should contact Coffs Harbour Detectives on (02) 6652 0299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
THREE people have been charged with drugs offences after raids in inner-Sydney suburbs overnight.
Police raided units in Bourke St, Darlinghurst, and Belvoir Street, Surry Hills, where they seized a quantity of tablets, prescription medication scales and cash just after 9pm (AEST).
A 36-year-old man from Stanmore was charged with possession and supply of drugs and was due to appear in Parramatta Court this morning.
A 25-year-old Rockdale woman was charged with possession and being knowingly concerned in the supply of a prohibited drug. She was also due to appear in Parramatta Court this morning.
A 24-year-old man from Darlinghurst was charged with conspiring to supply a prohibited drug. He was granted bail and is to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court later this month.
CRIMES were once reported at a police station, then there was the PAL call centre â€“ now it could all be done by e-mail.
A State Government audit of the Police Assistance Line has recommended new ways be found for the public to report crimes, including over the internet, in a bid to increase efficiency.
The Audit Office yesterday rejected a NSW Police plan to contract the PAL call centre out to business and other government departments in a bid to make it more profitable.
The 24-hour call centre costs $13 million a year to run and was supposed to be self-sufficient by selling reports to insurance companies and the debt recovery office. But it operates about $500,000 over budget.
Auditor-General Bob Sendt warned that looking for extra business would be “inconsistent with the role of NSW Police”.
The audit found PAL â€“ a civilian-staffed service set up in 1999 to take reports of minor crimes â€“ had helped improve the efficiency and effectiveness of NSW Police.
The average time to answer a call fell from two minutes to 42 seconds but half of the 500,000 calls every year were answered outside the goal of 27 seconds.
And 6 per cent of callers, about 37,000 a year, abandoned the hold music and hung up compared to the call centre industry standard of 4 per cent.
Auditor Jane Tebbatt said PAL had freed up more than 200 police for operational duties and had cut the cost of handling a minor crime inquiry by 65 per cent. But only 46 per cent of minor crimes that PAL was supposed to handle were reported through the call centre.
“There is potential for police to get further benefits from PAL by increasing public awareness of the line,” she said.
Police Minister John Watkins said other recommendations in the report would be implemented, including reviewing customer service targets and more staff at the Lithgow and Tuggerah call centres.
Police Association president Ian Ball said PAL had been effective in freeing up police but “we need to get it completely right . . . before we start some grandiose idea of getting business from other organisations”.
HIGHWAY patrol cars in the Snowy Mountains will soon look like garishly coloured street racing vehicles in a bid to stop them from “disappearing” off the road.
Instead of using white cars which are almost invisible in the winter alpine environment, police have decided to use cars with the brightest paint jobs on the market.
The Monaro local area command has taken delivery of a 2003 Holden Commodore SS V8 in a colour known as “red hot” and another Holden Commodore SS V8 in a shade known as “hot house green”.
As well, a Ford XR8 V8 has joined its fleet in “acid rush yellow”.
The cars are designed to provide extra safety for police so motorists are more easily able to see them.
The regular white police car has been known to “disappear” in the snow, Police Minister John Watkins said.
Mr Watkins said police deliberately sought the brightest paint jobs offered by Holden and Ford. “I know these eye-catching, high-performance vehicles will have people talking about the police presence within the Monaro local area command,” Mr Watkins said.
The cars, to be equipped with snow chains and in-house video systems, will be used on a trial basis during 2003.
Operation Snow Safe begins this weekend â€“ the official start of the snow season â€“ and is designed to ensure snowfields visitors take extra care on local roads.
IT was just a cheeky gift from a former flame, but a pair of toy handcuffs have landed a teenager in court.
Police found the metal handcuffs in the glove box of Raymond Maher’s car when it was pulled over and searched in Jacaranda Rd, Woolooware, on January 2.
“The officer came out and handcuffed me and went straight back to the search,” said Mr Maher, a 19-year-old student from Marrickville.
“When he finished the search, he came out with the handcuffs and said, ‘Are these yours?’
“I said: ‘Yeah, they’re mine, they’re toys.’ I looked at my friend and he started laughing because it was obvious they were toys,” he said.
Two months later, Mr Maher was summonsed to appear in court on charges of possessing a prohibited weapon.
He pleaded not guilty in Sutherland Local Court on March 13 and April 24.
A police ballistics report was prepared on the toy handcuffs, which cost less than $5 from toy shops and could be opened without a key.
According to the ballistics report, the Chinese manufactured handcuffs “are not antique nor are they a child’s toy that are of an approved type by the Commissioner of Police”.
Mr Maher’s father Desmond said the report omitted significant details, such as the fact that the cuffs could be opened with a safety latch.
He produced receipts for similar cuffs purchased from Uncle Pete’s Toyland for $5.99 on May 4 and Toys ‘R’ Us for $4.99 on February 2 this year.
The handcuffs are recommended for use by children eight years and over.
“I’ve been bashing my head against the wall trying to make people see sense â€“ it is just beyond a joke,” he said.
Mr Maher said the toy handcuffs and a teddy bear were Valentine’s Day gifts from an ex-girlfriend last year.
Mr Maher’s current girlfriend Mary Dang, 18, felt he had been unfairly targeted by police.
The matter will next go before court on June 25.