Victoria police have recovered all 37 firearms stolen during a brazen daylight heist at a Melbourne gun shop and arrested six men, but say there could be more suspects on the run.
Heavily-armed officers swooped on a Docklands property on Monday afternoon where they found the guns and arrested two men aged 18 and 20.
The pair have been charged with armed robbery and firearms offences, while another four men, aged between 19 and 25, were later arrested during a series of raids across the city and will be questioned on Tuesday.
Police say more arrests could be made in relation to the afternoon robbery at Thornbury’s O’Reillys Firearms on January 29, involving four men wearing balaclavas, one of whom allegedly carried a gun.
The men currently being held are all believed to be part of a crime group, some of whom are related, Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana says.
The force was surprised and “very lucky” to have retrieved all the stolen guns, which were likely intended for the black market, the senior officer added.
“We’re very happy that we found them all, to be quite honest,” Mr Fontana told reporters.
“It was a bit of good investigative work and good decision making by our people.”
Mr Fontana said tighter gun shop security, including how firearms are stored, could prevent similar numbers of guns being stolen in one hit in future.
Premier Daniel Andrews said last week the government would consider stronger security measures for weapons, but would be guided by police.
The incident was also further proof of the need for tougher Victorian gun laws targeting gang members, bikies and terrorists, currently before parliament, Police Minister Lisa Neville said on Tuesday.
The proposed laws involve firearm prohibition orders which would give police the power to search vehicles or property of those subject to the bans, and any of their associates.
The opposition has indicated it will move some amendments on the legislation, but will vote for it anyway if they do not get up.