Vic cat lover accused of armed threats

Karen Sweeney
·2-min read

A man accused of holding a woman at gunpoint while demanding to know where the cats were at a Melbourne animal shelter allegedly returned the next day to collect his missing cat.

Tony Wittmann, 44, is charged with seven offences including kidnapping, false imprisonment and burglary after allegedly threatening a 23-year-old woman with a loaded assault rifle at the Lost Dogs' Home in Cranbourne West on Monday.

He failed in a bail application in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where it was revealed he allegedly forced the woman onto her knees at gunpoint before tying her up with cable ties.

Detective Senior Constable Jo MacDonald said Wittmann had admitted what he'd done in a police interview.

She said CCTV footage showed him wearing "full combat, military-style equipment and armed with an assault rifle" which he carried in a "threat position" while breaking into the animal shelter.

The victim, a staff member, drove in at around 10.30pm and saw Wittmann pointing the weapon at her, Det Sen Const MacDonald said.

"Do as I say and listen to me, and I won't hurt you," he allegedly told the woman while demanding to know where the cats were kept.

"Co-operate or I'll shoot you."

He had allegedly called the home earlier in the day and made an appointment to pick up his missing cat the next day.

Det Sen Const MacDonald said Wittmann told the woman to get on her knees and tied her arms behind her back with cable ties before leaving empty-handed.

"I'm going to close this door, if I see you I'll shoot ... count to 100 and you can call someone," he allegedly told her.

The detective said Wittmann came back to the scene the next day to pick up his cat, while officers were still there.

"He went out of his way to insert himself in the investigation to assert his innocence," Det Sen Const MacDonald said, adding he had made full admissions and showed no remorse.

She said he helped them to find a military-style vest, tactical helmet and gloves he dumped in bushland after the incident.

Wittmann asked for bail so he could get help for his mental health, and apologised for taking up the court's time.

He was represented by Legal Aid lawyer Crystle Gomez Vasquez for a brief filing hearing before going on to represent himself in a bail application.

Ms Gomez Vasquez said it was his first time in custody, he has a diagnosis of PTSD, and spinal and knee injuries.

She said Wittmann was "concerned about things being exaggerated in the media and he feels that he's not safe".

The magistrate said the extremely serious threats made with loaded firearms meant the community would be at risk if Wittmann was freed on bail.

He's due back in court on April 7.