A most-wanted criminal could be living near you, perhaps even in disguise in a fat suit—and you could play a key role in his arrest. Non-profit Crime Stoppers is calling on the Australian community to keep a watchful eye for the nine most wanted fugitives on its Rogue Radar list as part of its annual campaign: Operation Roam.
Its name suggests that these criminals “roam” around the country. They seek to settle where nobody can recognise them. The campaign raises their profiles so they can no longer fly under the radar to live with impunity in the Australian community.
The national campaign is led by Crime Stoppers Australia and the police. This year’s Operation Roam runs Aug. 21-27.
The most wanted man on the list is dubbed the “master of disguise,” and goes by the name Graham Gene Potter. He served 15 years in Sydney’s Long Bay Jail for decapitating a 19-year-old woman in 1981 in Wollongong, NSW, after seducing her on his buck’s night, news.com.au reported. He also cut off her fingers in hopes police would not be able to identify her.
Potter was charged in 2008 after police found some 15 million ecstasy tablets that had been smuggled inside tomato tins, msn.com reported. He was also later charged with conspiracy to murder two men in 2008 in Brunswick, Victoria. He skipped bail in 2010. His rather ordinary physical appearance has helped him evade police all this time.
“These criminals may appear to be leading a normal life; they may be your work colleague, neighbour, or a new person that has moved to your area, hiding in plain sight,” Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia, Trevor O’Hara, said in a news release.
Potter goes by other aliases, including Josh Lawson, Peter Anderson, John Page, Jim Henderson, and possibly Peter Adams. In 2010, police almost caught him at a caravan park in Queensland. Potter was donning a fat suit and ginger beard at the time, according to the Herald Sun. He was last spotted in the regional NSW town of Griffith in 2017, news.com.au reported.
The nine on this year’s Rogue Radar list have committed serious offences, including murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and theft.
“Crime Stoppers urges members of the public to visit www.crimestoppers.com.au to see if they recognise any faces and report anything they know about these individuals,” O’Hara added.
O’Hara says that if you see one of these offenders while outside, don’t approach them “under any circumstances” and instead call triple zero immediately or report to Crime Stoppers. You may even receive a cash reward, he says.
Last year, 12 of the nominated 19 fugitives featured in Operation Roam were found thanks to public input, according to Crime Stoppers.
Who Are The Others?
In no particular order, Crime Stoppers Australia are seeking your help to find:
Arron Michael Blenkinsop
Arron Michael Blenkinsop, 35, was jailed for five years for drug trafficking. He committed another two offences and was given a three-year sentence, but failed to comply with parole conditions after being granted parole. Police have issued a warrant for his return to custody. He has in the past used the alias Andrew Ross Bailey.
Cody Allan Coppock
Now 28, Cody Coppock is wanted for aggravated break and enter in Armatree, NSW, in February 2018. He rammed two vehicles in his run from the police. He is also wanted in Queensland, and police believe he possesses firearms. He is also known as Cody Gallegos or David Morris, and has ‘GALLEGOS’ tattooed on his forearm.
Jonathan Robert Simmons
Jonathan Robert Simmons, 36, is wanted for 10 deception offences in Adelaide—he had taken at least $50,000 from a fraudulent punters website. Simmons also goes by the names John Robert Griffiths, Tristian Simmons, and John Simmons.
Jonathon Edward Dick
Jonathon Edward Dick allegedly killed his brother with a samurai sword in 2017 at a shopping centre car park in Doncaster, Melbourne. Police believe the 39-year-old has fled interstate.
Keith John Porter
Keith John Porter, 61, was convicted for being involved in a drug trafficking syndicate that was supplying cocaine and cannabis. He failed to attend court in 2006 for his sentencing hearing and has been evading police since.
Paul Paterson, 48, was convicted in 1996 for a serious assault on his two-year-old stepdaughter in Wauchope, NSW. He was jailed for a time but did not comply with his parole conditions after release. He is being sought for breach of parole. Police believe he is around Darwin in the Northern Territory. Paterson is also known as Paul James or Jason Anthony Taylor.
Paul Brent Steadman
Paul Brent Steadman was charged by police with allegedly sexually assaulting a boy under 16 when he was working as a karate instructor in 2015, in Bathurst, NSW. He did not appear in court, and has been missing since. Police say Steadman has most likely left the Bathurst area, and that it is also possible that he is deceased. If alive, he would be 50 this year.
Pham Nguyen, 62, is wanted for “conduct endangering life.” Nguyen was inside the backseat of a car of a woman who didn’t realise he was there. He allegedly splashed petrol over her, and assaulted her, which caused her to drive off the road and hit a pole. Nguyen fled the scene.