'Put them down': Thief caught taking flowers from Bourke Street Mall memorial

Mel Buttigieg

A brazen thief has been captured on video appearing to steal flowers from a Bourke Street Mall memorial, two days after the horror CBD massacre, which killed at least five people.

The clip shows a man with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, walking away from the shrine where mourners have left flowers and cards for the victims.

He boards a tram, and the video cuts. A second clip shows two police officers escorting him from the tram.

A man can be seen approaching a shrine at Bourke Street, Melbourne, where people have placed flowers for the victims. Picture: Joshua John Arnott
The man boards a tram with flowers in his hand, before being escorted off by police and made to return the boquet. Pictures: Joshua John Arnott

The trio can be seen walking back along Bourke Street, before the man places the flowers on the footpath of the mall.

He can be seen exchanging words with the officers before the footage ends.

The video was recorded by Victorian man Joshua John Arnott early on Sunday morning.

The young man told 7 News he was waiting for a mate in the city about 8am when he noticed a man helping himself to the flowers placed at the memorial across the street.

Many Victorians have laid floral tributes at Bourke Street at the scene of the rampage. Photo: Getty Images

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"I heard a woman yell out 'put them down'," Mr Arnott told 7 News.

"So then I looked up and a guy had a bunch if flowers [in his hand].

"The she started really screaming 'put them down!'. So he just tossed them in the middle like it was trash.

"Then he walked away, two minutes later he crossed the street then picked up flowers, hopped on the tram."

Joshua John Arnott, who recorded the attempted theft, told 7 News the incident was

Mr Arnott said police were quick to catch up with the alleged thief and were able to stop the tram and escort him out.

"[The police] made him put back the flowers and moved him on," he said.

The bystander said the incident was "shocking to see" but thought the outcome could have been different if if the man tried to take the flowers later in the day, when more people were around.

"It would have gotten violent no doubt, with more people [around]."

Mr Arnott, who said he was born in Melbourne but now lived in regional Victoria, said: "When I heard the news, it was like a part of me got attacked".

It took him four hours on public transport to visit the shrine on Sunday morning, but he said he was compelled to pay his respects to the victims.

"It was just upsetting. I was heartbroken... There's a lot of sick people in the world"

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull laid floral tributes at Bourke Street at the scene of the rampage. Picture: 7 News

Seven News Online has contacted Victoria Police for comment.

Donations for the families of the victims of Friday's massacre can be made via the Bourke Street Fund website.

The Victorian Government promised to make an initial donation of $100,000 to the fund.

A vigil is also being planned for at Federation Square, at 5.30pm Monday.