Police have warned families they could be working or living next door to one of Australia’s most wanted criminals, as they release details of 10 of the country’s most dangerous men in a new effort to capture them.
Years after some of their crimes took place, authorities have announced a new campaign – called Operation Roam: Rogue Radar – to find everyone from a suspected murderer, to two men wanted in connection with sex offences, all accused or convicted of crimes in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.
While Graham Gene Potter, 60, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to murder in 2008, Jonathon Edward Dick is wanted over the murder of his brother in February 2017, and Paul Brent Steadman, 50, ran away after he was charged in 2015 over the alleged sexual assault of boy under 16 years old.
Police have now warned that some of the 10 could have assumed new identities, and Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Erika Owens explained: “It is quite simple for people to fly below the radar and assume new lives in a different town or city.”
Authorities warn that some of the offenders could have crossed borders and may now be hiding in different parts of the country, so far undetected.
“These criminals may appear to be leading a normal life; they may be your work colleague, neighbour, or a new person that has moved to your area, hiding in plain sight,” Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia Trevor O’Hara added.
Graham Gene Potter, who also goes by the names Josh Lawson and Peter Anderson, has previously been labelled Australia’s most wanted man. He is wanted for two counts of conspiracy to murder in Brunswick, Melbourne, in 2008.
He has been on the run since being put on bail in 2010 for a gangland execution plot. It’s claimed he was contracted to kill gangland members but didn’t go through with it as his car is said to have broken down.
Elsewhere Jonathon Edward Dick was charged with murdering his brother David in Doncaster, Melbourne, in February 2017. David was attacked with a sword and a knife, and died at the scene. Police warn Jonathon could be living on the streets and using disguises to hide.
Former karate instructor Paul Brent Steadman was charged in 2015 with offences relating to the sexual assault of a child under the age of 16. His car was later found in bushland, and police say it’s possible he has died – although that is unconfirmed.
Meanwhile, Harley Bennett was convicted of a 2003 aggravated sexual assault in Newcastle, NSW. He was sentenced to six years behind bars at the time, with a non-parole period of three years. A warrant was issued in 2010 for breach of parole.
Keith John Porter failed to attend Brisbane Supreme Court in 2006 for a sentencing hearing after he was convicted for his involvement in a drug trafficking syndicate supplying cocaine and cannabis in Queensland and elsewhere.
And body builder Arron Michael Blenkinsop, 36, also known as Andrew Ross Bailey, was convicted for drug trafficking in Cairns Supreme Court in 2015. He received a five year and three year sentence for two offences. He failed to comply with his parole conditions, and a warrant was later issued.
Jonathan Robert Simmons is wanted for ten deception offences in Adelaide, after he obtained more than $50,000 from a fraudulent punters website. He is also known by the names John Robert Griffiths, Tristian Simmons and John Simmons.
Meanwhile, police have issued information on Cody Allan Coppock, also known as Cody Gallegos or David Morris. He can clearly be identified by a tattoo of the word ‘GALLEGOS’ on his forearm.
He is wanted for an aggravated break and enter in Armatree, NSW, in February 2018. A firearm and three vehicles were stolen, while it’s claimed he rammed two civilian vehicles to avoid arrest, before being pursued by police. Coppock is also wanted in Queensland and is believed to be in possession of firearms.
In 2017, Pham Nguyen is alleged to have entered a woman’s vehicle who later drove off without realising he was in the backseat.
Nguyen is claimed to have splashed petrol over the victim and assaulted her, causing her to drive off the road and collide with a pole. He fled from the vehicle and is now wanted for the offence of ‘conduct endangering life’.
And finally Paul Paterson, also known as Paul James or Jason Anthony Taylor, is wanted for breach of parole. He was convicted in 1996 of a serious assault on his two-year-old stepdaughter in Wauchope, NSW, and later served an unspecified period of imprisonment.
However, he breached his parole conditions after release. Paterson is currently believed to be in the Darwin area, Northern Territory.
See the full list of criminals and their alleged crimes on the official Crime Stoppers website. Any information about the alleged offenders should be reported immediately.