Following news that Bourke Street’s heroic “Trolley Man” Michael Rogers was wanted by Victoria Police for questioning in relation to a string of burglaries, it has now been reported that the man has been granted strict conditional bail.
Australians were captivated after video footage of the 46-year-old ramming a shopping trolley into attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali as he attempted to stab police last Friday went viral online. They flooded a GoFundMe page with donations for Melbourne’s unlikely trolley hero, with the original intention to raise enough funds for Rogers to purchase a new mobile phone after his was smashed during last Friday’s incident.
In the end, more than $144,000 was raised for Rogers, although reports earlier this week claimed Victoria Police were trying to locate the man in relation to alleged breach of bail and burglary offences in the St Kilda and Melbourne CBD areas.
Following his rise to fame, it was revealed that Rogers had a criminal record, history of drug use and had been released from prison just five weeks ago for stealing a bicycle.
Rogers, 46, is understood to have presented himself to police on Friday night. According to SBS, on Saturday he granted the bail under the condition that he report to police daily, abide by a curfew, undertake drug screenings and a court program to help him receive treatment.
Earlier reports confirmed that police have charged Rogers with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail.
Donna Stolzenberg, CEO of the Melbourne Homeless Collective that set up the GoFundMe campaign, told the Herald Sun she was with Rogers on Thursday evening when he rang police about their concerns and that he would “own up and do the right thing” if there were any charges.
Earlier this week, Stolzenberg hit back at critics who said Rogers wasn’t worthy of the funds people raised for him.
“He really is an incredible, humble and beautiful person. I know the media has reported a lot on his past, and I guess everyone is curious,” she wrote on National Homeless Collective’s Facebook page. “But please, let’s focus on the person he is now, the person who stepped in to try and save two police officers from a crazed attacker.
“The person who has a brother who adores him, a sister-in-law who speaks so highly of him, and five nieces and nephews who cannot wait to see their Uncle Michael again.”
She also confirmed that 100 per cent of the funds raised for Rogers would go directly to him and said money will be held in a trust account with accountants at One Ledger to oversee the handling of the funds, to ensure Rogers is taken care of and that he is guided financially as he moves forward. He was given money earlier this week and purchased a new mobile phone with the first chunk of money he received.