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Monday, October 26, 2015

Gino and Mark Stucco still on the run

Father and son Gino and Mark Stucco have been on the run from Queensland and NSW police for eight years.  But when they shot at two highway cops during a high speed chase near Wagga on 16 October and rammed a police car last Thursday, the game changed and police suddenly got serious.

Gino 57 and Mark 35 used a high pressure petrol pump, usually reserved for trucks, to steal $200 worth of fuel before heading south on the Hume Highway.  Their stolen 2013 white Toyota Landcruiser has a 180 litre fuel tank with the capacity to travel 800 kms between refills.

Police have conceded they could be anywhere within an 800 kms radius of Gundagai.

Gundagai service station owner Kieran Pearce said the locals are disgusted with the way police have handled the manhunt.  "I think they are concerned about why they haven't been caught" he said. "It's sort of perplexing to see how they just blatantly drive around on main highways and not be caught."

The Stoccos are wanted for a number of crimes and property offences in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Not only have father and son been on the run for eight years, police had them in their sights and let them go.

On a lonely stretch of road outside Mangoplah, two Wagga highway patrol cops notice a suspicious number plate on a silver Nissan Navara and motion it to pull over.  It doesn't stop and a high speed chase follows.

Unaware that Gino and Mark Stucco are inside, the two officers are shocked when suddenly the passenger starts firing multiple rounds into their car.  So what did they do?  They abandoned the chase and let them go.

'Our police force is useless, they had them in their sights and let them go' the media said.  Others believe police did the right thing - by abandoning the chase, they put the lives of the officers and innocent motorists first.

It's easy to pontificate on what the officers should have done but surely they have the right to practice caution when their lives are threatened. Australians don't carry guns in their cars so this would have been a very rare experience for the two officers.

Oct 16   Gino and Mark Stucco shoot at police in Wagga Wagga.
Oct 18   Steal a Toyota Landcruiser with NSW plates
Oct 19   Refuel at petrol station at Euroa
Oct 20   Steal 3 sets of number plates in Tumbarumba
Oct 21   Seen entering a supermarket in Bairnsdale
Oct 22   Ram a police car near St James
Oct 24   Stole $200 worth of fuel at South Gundagai

There are other offences including stealing the identities of family and friends and a priest to defraud $20,000 to fund a three year cruise around Australia's east coast.

When Gino's marriage ended, they bought a yacht with his $100,000 divorce settlement.

And the hunt continues.