Police in Victoria say they have rounded up more than 100 members of the notorious Apex gang, but that did not prevent one group of the thugs attacking a father outside his home.
Four men attacked the man, who did not want to be named, while he was cleaning ice from his windscreen in front of his home on Thursday morning.
“They had their headlights turned off and I thought, 'what’s going on here?',” the victim said.
Within moments, four of the five men were outside confronting him.
“[They said] 'give me your money, give me your keys' … I looked at them, straight away thought, 'yeah, that’s the Apex gang',” the man said.
“One of them gave me a few punches in the stomach.”
The man protected himself with a bin so the men turned their attention to his house.
The shouting woke the victim’s wife and two teenage sons who cowered behind the front door.
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“She was at the front door trying to hold it so that they wouldn’t force their way in,” the man said.
The gang’s spree had started in Clayton just after midnight when three victims were robbed in the street.
In Officer they stole the car during an aggravated burglary before confronting families in homes in Park Orchards and Blackburn, and stealing from homes at Mitcham and Blackburn.
Four were arrested and faced court on Friday.
Assistant Victoria Police commissioner Stephen Fontana said officers were becoming experienced at rounding up the criminals.
“They were locked up within 24 hours, so we are becoming very swift at identifying those offenders,” he said.
Another gang was in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, accused of being part of Apex and spectacularly smashing their way into a Coburg jewellery store three weeks ago.
Angry locals gathered outside the shop to stop their getaway.
The court heard one of the gang members who slipped past the Good Samaritans had jewellery worth $130,000. He delivered it to their boss in Caroline Springs but they were set to make just a couple of thousand dollars each for the crime.
“They’re taking advantage of these young people to do their dirty work for them,” Assistant commissioner Fontana said.
A friend supported the alleged jewellery gang outside court.
“They are not the type of guys to do that, they are good people,” they said.