It began as the alleged theft of a tow truck in Melbourne. Then it escalated into a car chase and the drama on suburban streets ended in a police shoot-out.

Lachlan Cross reports.


The stolen tow truck’s hour-long high-octane joy ride through several suburbs came to an abrupt end when it crashed into a tree.

Heavily armed police converged.

Fearing for their safety after several cars had been struck, officers opened fire on the driver.

The driver’s in a serious condition in hospital.

The truck’s owner had posted a picture on Facebook and received a location tip-off.

The owner confirmed it was his vehicle but the alleged thief took off.

Josh Mudaliar, Truck Owner: “Initially, we followed him for about five minutes before we went to another location, hmmm, and we were probably about 100 metres away from him.”

The driver sped away again. By now police had joined the chase.

Josh Mudaliar, Truck Owner: “And then we were very close, we were the car behind, we weren’t going to let him go.”

The driver remains under police guard in hospital.

In New South Wales, a Vietnamese crime gang has felt the wrath of the Drug Squad.

Thirteen search warrants in Sydney and Newcastle were executed, uncovering elaborate hydroponic setups growing marijuana.

The responsible parties fitted plumbing, heating and overhead lighting all right under the noses of unsuspecting neighbours.

Wanda Whittaker, Neighbour: “Like well, we saw light on, hmm, but we just assumed the real estate agents had left the lights on. We didn’t realise that anyone had been in there.”

Three arrests have been made thus far, but police are expecting more.

Lachlan Cross, QUT News.