Manhunt underway after armed robberies across western Victoria

Police investigating the area.
Police investigating the area.

UPDATE, Wednesday 7am: Goldfields Crime Investigation Unit detectives have charged a man following a series of alleged armed robberies in western Victoria yesterday (10 July).

A 34-year-old South Australian man was arrested outside a property on Main Street, Bealiba about 7pm.

He has been charged with a number of offences, including aggravated carjacking, attempted aggravated carjacking, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, robbery, theft of motor vehicle, attempted theft of motor vehicle and assault.

The charges relate to an alleged armed robbery in Buson Lane, Concongella, attempted armed robbery on McCardles Lane, Rathscar and aggravated burglary on Main Street, Bealiba.

The man has been remanded to appear at Bendigo Magistrates’ Court today.

UPDATE, Tuesday, 8pm: Police have arrested a wanted man following a 12-hour manhunt across western Victoria.

The 34-year-old South Australian man was allegedly trying to steal another car in Main Street, Bealiba when he was arrested about 7pm.

The owner of the car was assaulted during the alleged attempted theft and received minor injuries.

The South Australian man is currently assisting police with their enquiries.

UPDATE, Tuesday, 4.15pm: Police have released a image of a man following a number of incidents in western Victoria this morning.

It is alleged a man approached a woman at her property on Buson Lane in Concongella and threatened her with a knife about 6am.

The offender allegedly stole her car keys and the white Holden Captiva.

A short time later it is believed the same man went to a rural property in McCardles Lane in Rathscar and allegedly attempted to steal another vehicle.

The man was confronted by the owner of the vehicle and allegedly produced a sledgehammer, before fleeing the scene in the Holden Captiva.

The victim gave chase and the man allegedly dumped the car in the paddocks in McCardles Lane and took off on foot.

Investigators have released an image of a man who may be able to assist with their enquiries.

The man is described as being in his 30's or 40’s and was wearing dark clothing.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone who sights the man is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

UPDATE, Tuesday, 12.30pm: Senior Constable Caroline Blackley has just addressed the media.

She said the man remained on the loose and that he was potentially armed and dangerous.

He is described as about 180cm, medium build, about 30 years of age and with olive skin.

Police believe he is heading towards Melbourne, possibly Craigieburn.

UPDATE, Tuesday, 12pm: Police appear to be scaling back their search efforts in pursuit of the man.

The search party has blocked off McArdles Lane and are concentrating their efforts in the surrounding area.

It’s believed the man is on foot after dumping a car he allegedly stole near Stawell.

There are a number of hay sheds in the area, which locals say would be easy places to hide.

One local farmer, Peter, said the wanted man had countless places to hide in the area.

“If he's hiding in the hay you'd nearly have pull the shed apart to get him,” he said.

“I just hope to Christ he's not there because we're all working around there.

“We're just bloody old farmers wanting to do our job, shearing sheep at the moment, that's all we want to do.”

Another local, Chris, said it was scary to know such a person was on the loose in the area.

He said the incident had scared everybody in the area and he hoped police would catch the man soon.

A third local, John, questioned why police appeared to be scaling back their search despite the man still being on the loose.

“If this was in Melbourne there'd be 400 police here looking,” he said.

“I'm just a bit worried the case has been called off and we've got a dangerous man in the area.”

EARLIER: A manhunt is continuing north of Avoca after a series of incidents this morning.

The police airwing and dog squad are currently looking around the McArdles Lane area near Natte Yallock for a man who is believed to have held up a woman in Buson Lane, Concongella at 6am.

A police spokesperson said it was believed a man approached a woman and threatened her with a knife and stole her white Holden Captiva.

It was not long until the man allegedly tried to steal another car in Rathscar, north of Avoca, more than 80km away.

There, he allegedly tried to steal another car about 7.30am, using a sledgehammer as a weapon to threaten the owner.

The man is described as being in his 30s or 40s and wearing dark clothing.

A number of police units are on scene, while the airwing is circling the area.

The canine unit is also involved in the search.