Australian police on Tuesday arrested eight teenagers in connection with a spate of violent armed robberies targeting taxi drivers, including an Indian cabbie, in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
The youth, aged between 14 and 18 including one female, were arrested after a series of police raids in the morning.
The teenagers are expected to be charged with offences including armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, assault and property damage.
Police Superintendent Rick Nugent said the alleged offenders’ ages were shocking as was the violence of their alleged crimes, according to local media reports.
Concerned over the incident he said, “it’s a very violent crime that’s been committed on these taxi drivers”.
A task force was set up on Monday to probe the series of robberies. Most of the offenders are expected to face a children’s court once charged.
Investigators from the task force raided four properties in the western suburbs after a briefing at Sunshine police station about 6.30 a.m. Mr. Nugent said police did not expect to make any further arrests in relation to the robberies.
Five cabs were targeted in 90 minutes starting midnight on Sunday, police said, adding a group of seven males using stolen cars and wielding baseball bats were responsible for the attacks.
Thirty-year-old Indian driver Harpreet Gill was driving his taxi through Sunshine suburb when his car was rammed from behind and a second car pulled up abruptly in front of him.
Mr. Gill said he handed over his mobile phone and some 150 Australian dollar in cash. He was then punched in the face which resulted in cuts to his nose and lips.