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The Great Bookie Robbery

Australia’s most daring armed robbery took place on April 20, 1976 at 12.07pm. On this day, 46 bookies were to go to the Victorian Club to settle accounts from recent race meetings.
Cash from 116 bookmakers was delivered by a Mayne Nickless armoured car.

It is believed the robbery was planned and led by Raymond “Chuck” Bennett. Bennett chose the date because it was the post Easter settling day and bookmakers would be settling up after not one, but three race meetings.

According to information later given to police, Bennett organised a virtual dress rehearsal during the Easter long-weekend. The gang went into the deserted premises of the club over the holiday and practised what they were going to do.

Inside the club there was almost no security. Despite the huge sums being handled, financial exchanges between the bookies all worked on trust.

Just after midday a man arrived at the club, saying he was there to fix the refrigerator in the bar on the second floor. He stood watch at a peephole and at 12.07pm, after the last of the cashboxes had been delivered, threw open a door at the right of the bar, permitting entry to five balaclava clad accomplices carrying pistols and automatic weapons.

 


The six wore balaclavas and were heavily armed, ordering 31 people to lie on the floor. One guard went to grab his .38 revolver but a gang member saw him and bashed him to the floor with the butt of a submachine gun. One of the bandits told the guard his head would be blown off if he tried again. The guard was the only person injured in the raid.

The raid was over in 11 minutes. How much money was grabbed was to remain known only to the gang members themselves. It could have been as much as $15 million. The bookmakers remained tight-lipped. Many people believed the amount said to have been stolen was grossly understated because the bulk of the cash had not been documented, in order for the bookmakers to avoid turnover tax.

Some believe the men rented an office in the same building and hid the money there while making a fake getaway in a van.

No one has ever been convicted of any offence committed in relation to the Great Bookie Robbery.

 
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