POLICE helicopters have swooped on the NSW Riverina in the hunt for two of Australia’s most wanted criminals who remain on the run after opening fire on officers during a dramatic pursuit near Wagga Wagga yesterday afternoon.
Convicted criminals Gino and Mark Stocco, a father and son duo from Queensland wanted in three different states for a whole range of crimes, have spent the last eight years on the run, travelling from town-to-town, ripping off farmers to survive.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Their cover was blown yesterday afternoon when a Highway Patrol car attempted to intercept their silver Nissan Navara 4WD on the Henty to Cookardinia Road at Mangoplah, south of Wagga Wagga shortly after 2pm.
The pair, desperate and dangerous, allegedly shot at the Highway Patrol vehicle, striking its front grill.
Back up units caught up to the Nissan about 2.25pm at which time the occupants again opened fire at another police car.
The pair got away after officers terminated the pursuit near the intersection of Pulletop and Cheviot Hills Roads at Pulletop.
A command centre was set up at the intersection and dozens of police commenced a large scale search of the area, during which time the Nissan was found abandoned in bushland off the Hume Highway, around 22km south of the police command centre.
It was today towed away from the scene and taken to Wagga Wagga for further forensic analysis.
Specialist taskforce officers from Sydney this morning arrived in the Riverina to join the search and investigation, which is being headed by Strike Force Kalkadoon.
In the most current photos police have on file, Gino Stocco is depicted as having grey hair, a grey beard and brown eyes. He is 58 years of age.
The most recent photo police have of Mark Stocco, depicts him as having dark brown, medium-length hair, a dark brown beard and brown eyes. He is 35 years of age.
Police are urging members of the public to contact Triple Zero (‘000’) immediately if they see either of the two men, warning that under no circumstances should they approach the men, who are considered armed and dangerous.