Closed-circuit TV footage of the ram raid at the Target Country store in Goonellabah on January 23.
Closed-circuit TV footage of the ram raid at the Target Country store in Goonellabah on January 23.

Ram raiders hunted down

STRIKE force detectives are on the verge of bringing down a gang of violent armed robbers on the Northern Rivers.

Police arrested and charged a Goonellabah man on Monday in connection with a daring January ram raid, and say more arrests are imminent.

Detectives from Strike Force ELOC executed a warrant on a Rous Road residence at 12.30pm on Monday in relation to the ram raid at the Target Country department store in Goonellabah in January.

There they arrested a 24-year-old man and seized a quantity of home entertainment and electrical items believed to have been stolen during the robbery.

Strike Force ELOC was formed in January in response to the ram raid and a chain of armed robberies across the region.

On January 23, just before dawn, thieves smashed a stolen Holden Commodore through the front doors of the Target department store.

Closed-circuit camera footage showed the offenders ransacking the store before making off with electrical goods estimated to be worth $5000.

Police admitted at the time it was a ‘dangerous and extreme’ robbery and uncommon for the Northern Rivers region.

Last month police drew a strong link between the ram raiders and other armed robberies, based on the security camera footage.

The incidents included an armed robbery at a Lismore convenience store in July last year, an armed robbery at a Goonellabah video store in January, an armed robbery at an East Lismore bottle shop in March, and the Target ram raid in January.

The incidents often involved stolen cars and theoffenders, who police consider dangerous, used a range of weapons including firearms, machetes, knives and hammers.

Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Greg Moore would not be drawn on further details as the matter was before court, but pulled no punches yesterday sending a clear message to violent armed robbers.

“Our detectives take these matters very seriously. We will hunt you down and put you before the courts for these types of offences,” he said.

“Strike Force ELOC investigations are ongoing and we anticipate further arrests.”


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