Pistols now being used in robberies

A RECENT armed robbery attempt in Albury using a fake handgun is just the latest in an emerging trend of firearm crime.

A 17-year-old East Albury youth pointed the black semi-automatic replica pistol at two people on Olive Street in the early hours of May 6.

He had broken into three cars to steal property in the city’s CBD and tried to rob two people as they walked past.

The pair walked away from the teen and called police, and he was arrested in Bonegilla Street a short time later.

It followed an incident in December where a man was allegedly smashed in the temple with an imitation pistol during a robbery attempt.

The man had been sitting on the corner of David and Swift Streets, only a few hundred metres from the police station, when the incident occurred on December 4.

The offender had allegedly threatened to shoot the man before hitting him with the gun.

Police found the firearm and two other guns in Wodonga about two weeks later.

Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data shows there were three robberies involving firearms in the Albury region last year.

No such cases were recorded in the four years prior. 

Overall prohibited and regulated weapons offences slowly declined from 2014 to the end of last year.

Other recent firearm incidents include the alleged sale of a sawn-off .22 calibre rifle in Albury sometime in March or April, which was found by police at a Jacaranda Street home. 

Six guns were stolen from a Corowa home in March.

Across the border, Kelvin Tennant was shot with a pistol several times in Everton in February.

Albury Inspector Scott Russell said overall firearm offences weren’t on the rise.

“We will continue to target all crime, including gun crime,” he said.  

“The recent incidents reported involving firearms are always of concern, however, these incidents are being treated in isolation and from our investigations are not linked.

“Licensed firearm holders have obligations under the Firearms Sct to keep their firearms secure.” 

He said public assistance was vital to tackle gun crime.