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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Unofficial A-Z Challenge: D is For Dumb And Dumber, F is For Finch, G Is for Great Bookie Robbery

As I don't have any badly behaved Australians in my book whose name starts with E, I'm going to give you an extra D.

D Is For Dumb And Dumber

Their names were Anthony Prince and Luke Carroll and they were so embarrassing to anyone from Australia. Coming from the land of Ned Kelly, they couldn't even get a bank robbery in the U.S. right! So Australian newspapers nicknamed them Dumb and Dumber.

These two characters had a job in a ski resort in Colorado. When they decided to rob the local bank, in 2005, they forgot to take off their name tags. Under their balaclava masks they spoke with their Australian accents. They clowned for the cameras.

When it came time to escape, they didn't use a getaway car. Oh, no, not them! They used their staff passes to hitch a ride in a ski lift.

No doubt they wondered why they were caught. (Facepalm!)

F is For James Finch

Whiskey Au Go Go. Fair usage

James Finch was one of the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub firebombers, who torched a Brisbane disco in 1973, killing fifteen people. He was hired by Brisbane criminal John Stuart, on behalf of a standover gang.

On the night of March 8 1973, two drums of  petrol were hauled into the foyer and lit.

It didn't take long for the police to catch up. To get the charges started quickly, they were charged with only one murder, that of a woman called Jennifer Davie. 

There was a huge campaign to free them, as they insisted their confessions had been forced, but Stuart died in jail. After serving his sentence, Finch was deported to England where, thinking himself safe, he publicly admitted his guilt. When it was pointed out that he had only been convicted of one murder and there were fourteen more, he retracted his confession. Whoops! 

G Is For Great Bookie Robbery

In 1975, Raymond Bennett, a career criminal who was serving a term in England, made use of his leave from jail to come home to Melbourne and plan a heist. He checked out the Victorian Club in Queen Street, where, for a century, bookies had gathered after races to "settle up." There were millions of dollars in cash involved, but most crooks assumed the place was impossible to rob.

After serving his British sentence, Bennett organised an almost military operation. The team he assembled was trained in the bush and made to promise to avoid drink and women for a month in advance. 

The robbery must have been embarrassingly easy. The team burst in and simply took the money off the terrified bookies.

Because Bennett was smart enough to spread the money out in investments and property, it was impossible for the police to prove who had committed the crime. Nobody actually ended up going to jail for it.

Only in Australia! 

If you enjoyed this story, there are plenty more in the book, Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly, available in ebook and print. 

Check it out here:

Tomorrow: Jody Harris and Audrey Jacob

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