Gaming regulator approves 70 pokies for local football club in ‘hard-hit’ Melbourne suburb


Stuart McDonald’s 10-year addiction to the pokies began while watching the football at the Whitten Oval and Docklands Stadium.

“During the half-time break I would go down and put significant amounts in the pokies, then I’d wander back upstairs feeling depressed and miserable,” he said.

It didn’t take long to turn into a full-blown addiction.

“One time I emptied the entire bank account and had to shame-facedly ring my ex-wife and tell her there was no money for groceries that week because I spent it at the football,” he said.

He has since recovered from addiction and the poker machines at Whitten Oval and Docklands Stadium are gone.

Mr McDonald said they should not have been there to begin with.

“Football and gaming don’t mix,” he said.

“Football is meant to be a family-friendly activity and poker machines certainly aren’t.”

Mr McDonald has moved from Melbourne’s west to Warrnambool, in western Victoria.

But he said he’s disappointed the Werribee Tigers Football Club is planning to include 70 poker machines in its new venue in Tarneit, in Melbourne’s outer west.

“There are just venues everywhere, and the western suburbs of Melbourne are particularly hard-hit because they’ve got venues in every corner,” he said.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has approved the club’s application for 70 poker machines at its proposed new entertainment venue, Club Tarneit, in a rapidly developing area near Tarneit train station.

The proposed site of Club Tarneit in Melbourne’s outer west.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

The club must make $50,000 in annual community contributions and employ a full-time Community Development Manager.

A spokesman for the club declined the ABC’s interview request, saying an appeal is still possible. But in its application, the club said it needed the revenue from pokies to remain viable in the VFL.

Council disappointed by approval

Josh Gillgan, wearing a blue and white checked shirt, smiles at the camera.
Josh Gilligan says the City of Wyndham is already seeing the negative consequences associated with other gaming venues.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

The local council, the City of Wyndham, opposed the application.

Councillor Josh Gilligan said it was disappointing it was approved.

“That’ll add millions of dollars onto an already $290,000 of losses, each and every day, in the City of Wyndham,” he said.

There are currently 903 gaming machines in Wyndham, including 85 at the Tigers Clubhouse in Hoppers Crossing.

A sign saying POKIES - BAR - BISTRO at the Tigers Clubhouse.
The Tigers Clubhouse brought in nearly $8 million in gaming revenue in 2019/20.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

“We’re already seeing the social cost of these types of issues, whether it be domestic violence, whether it be homelessness, whether it be house delinquencies and mortgages that go under,” Cr Gilligan said.

He said the football club is an important part of the community in Melbourne’s west.

“We love footy but when we find that it’s being propped up by pokies venues, our community gets particularly worried about the impact that has on it,” he said.

State Treasurer supported application

Not everyone is so worried.

The local MP, Tim Pallas, who is also the Victorian Treasurer, wrote to the VCGLR to support the Tigers’ application.

“Throughout its history, the Werribee Football Club has established strong links to Wyndham’s young and growing community,” he wrote.

He said the club runs programs with local schools and multicultural groups.

A sign outside the Werribee Football Club.
The Werribee Football Club has had its application approved by Victoria’s gaming regulator.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

“I’m advised the proposed entertainment venue in Tarneit will see the establishment of new facilities to include function rooms, bistro including alfresco dining bar, cafe, gaming room and sports bar,” he wrote.

“Wyndham is a vibrant, young and rapidly-growing community and this type of venue will enhance the provision of facilities for young families,” he said.

He noted the VFL club doesn’t have an AFL-affiliated club “and subsequently experiences different financial challenges”.

AFL says it’s supporting VFL clubs to diversify

A blond woman sits with a drink at a pokie.
The club says it needs the gaming revenue to stay viable in the Victorian Football League.(

ABC News, file photo

)

The council wrote to the AFL in February, to ask what the league is doing to help clubs like the Werribee Tigers move away from gaming revenue.

It is yet to receive a reply.

In the AFL, North Melbourne, Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne have at least committed to make their venues pokies-free.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Tim Costello said the league must do more.

“They’ve been saying ‘let’s get clubs out of pokies’ because they do such profound damage to the community.”

In a statement to the ABC, a spokesman for the AFL described VFL clubs as “pillars of the community.”

He said the AFL has reduced licence fees, salary caps and is subsidising travel.

“The AFL continues to work with all VFL clubs on new revenue opportunities to diversify their business operations ensuring the legacy of these clubs continues to play an important part in the Australian football landscape,” he said.

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Joshua Rozynski charged with murder over weekend shooting in Geelong suburb of Corio


A 26-year-old man charged with murder over a fatal shooting in the Geelong suburb of Corio on Saturday morning knew the man he allegedly killed, court documents show.

Joshua Rozynski did not appear in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court this morning and was instead represented by his lawyer Zoya Tvarkovski over the alleged shooting murder of 43-year-old Daniel Michael Eagle.

The shooting followed a car crash on the Princes Highway involving a station wagon and a truck.

Detectives believe three men in the station wagon were struck by a Melbourne-bound truck as it turned from Harpur Road and onto a service road to access the highway.

Homicide Squad detectives said another car appeared at the scene immediately after the crash, and two people got out of that vehicle and fired shots.

Mr Eagle was in the station wagon and died at the scene from what police say was a gunshot wound.

Police arrested Mr Rozynski and a 25-year-old man on Sunday night.

The 25-year-old was released without charge pending further investigations.

Mr Eagle is known to police, but detectives have not released any more information about him.

Two other passengers in the station wagon were taken to Geelong University Hospital with minor injuries.

Victoria Police told the court that due to the “large amount of CCTV footage and forensic analysis of all items including ballistic examinations … and drug analysis and a post mortem and toxicology report”, a hearing could not take place for at least three months.

Mr Rozynski has been remanded in custody until August.

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Man found dead in unit fire in Melbourne suburb Highett


A man has been found dead inside a home in Melbourne’s southeast after a building fire broke out.

Emergency services were called to the unit on Chesterville Road in Highett about 7.50pm on Thursday.

They found the building on fire.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze and found a man dead inside.

A crime scene was set up at the address and a number of residents were evacuated from their homes.

A woman in her 70s was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The Arson Squad will be at the scene on Friday morning to investigate.

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NSW man James Robert Davis charged with keeping slave in Sydney suburb of Maroubra


A man accused of keeping a slave in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra will remain behind bars after a brief court appearance in today.

James Robert Davis, 40, is facing three charges — reducing a person to slavery, possessing a slave and causing a person to enter into or remain in servitude.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between June 2013 and July 2015 at a property in Maroubra, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Mr Davis, who served with the military for 17 years, was arrested in Armidale on Thursday by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

An AFP spokesperson confirmed it had not ruled out laying further charges.

In a video posted online, Mr Davis spoke openly about his polyamorous relationships with women.

“They must think I’m some kind of abusive oppressor, misogynist, manipulator or even a monster,” he said.

“But the truth is, I’m just a guy who enjoys both freedom and commitment and was lucky enough to find some incredible women to love and who loved me back.”

Several of Mr Davis’s supporters arrive at Inverell court today.(

ABC News

)

Mr Davis wore a grey suit as he appeared at Inverell Local Court today via audio-visual link.

He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused, however his lawyer flagged she would be making a bail application next week.

His lawyer also thanked the magistrate for allowing Mr Davis’s wife and other family members to attend court at Armidale to watch the proceedings via video link.

The group displayed no emotion throughout his brief appearance and did not speak outside court.

The court heard the brief of evidence is expected to be served when the matter later returns to court on May 13.

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Paddington suburb record smashed – again – as house sells for $8m before the first open home


A Paddington home has sold for $8 million within 24 hours of hitting the market, smashing the suburb record that was set only two weeks ago.

The luxury statement home at 22 Reading Street did not even make it to the first open home before a local buyer snapped it up, said Tom Lyne of Ray White New Farm, who co-sold the property with Matt Lancashire.

“The buyers are local and wanted to stay in the Paddington area – I’ve been working with them for about a year now, and I knew this property would be for them,” Mr Lyne said.

22_reading_st_paddington_2_st4ofh
22 Reading Street, Paddington. Photo: Supplied

“They came in and saw it and couldn’t fault anything. That was it.”

It’s an astounding result for Paddington, one of Brisbane’s favourite character suburbs, where less than two weeks ago, a landmark home on Fernberg Road in need of renovation set a new record when it sold for an eye-watering $7.75 million just days after hitting the market.

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
197 Fernberg Road, Paddington, sold for $7.75 million less than two weeks ago.

The $8 million record actually puts 22 Reading Street back in its number one spot — before the house at Fernberg Road recently sold, it was already Paddington’s most expensive house. Property records show it sold for $5.45 million in March 2017.

That’s a massive $2.55 million profit for the vendors in just four years.

“This is a great story for Paddington and the Brisbane prestige market in general,” Mr Lyne said. “It’s a really big price. The important thing was we sold it before the first open home. We were fielding inquiries from expats, but once again, the local buyers have trumped them. Local prestige buyers can’t be underestimated.”

reading_st_vrqvlr
22 Reading Street, Paddington, is set on around 1500 square metres of near-flat hilltop land. Photo: Supplied

The house is positioned in one of Paddington’s premier locations, perched on a near-level 1500 square metres of sprawling hilltop land.

It features spectacular city views, a 25-metre lap pool, a six-car side-by-side garage, six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, three living areas, plus a home cinema and smart wiring throughout.

The vendors have loved living in their home but are making a sea change and moving down the coast, Mr Lyne said.

“Paddington is one of those suburbs that buyers from Teneriffe and New Farm have on their list. It’s geographically sought after, it’s got a wonderful vibe with a great community, and the prestige market there has really taken off in recent years,” he said.

22_reading_st_3_lrlxjc
22 Reading Street, Paddington. Photo: Supplied

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Brisbane suburb of Kangaroo Point a case study in high density development


A push for Brisbane to avoid urban sprawl by boosting inner-city density is rapidly changing some of the city’s oldest suburbs, sparking concerns heritage is being lost and infrastructure is not keeping pace.

Kangaroo Point is one such suburb, where residents fighting to slow the speedy rise of towering apartment blocks feel left out of the planning process as they watch their homes change for good.

Dozens of apartment tower applications have been lodged with Brisbane City Council in recent years, adding hundreds of apartments to the suburb and replacing older timber or fibro homes along the way.

In 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census predicted Kangaroo Point’s population of 8,800 would grow to 10,258 by 2021 and 14,039 by 2041, with a median age of 35 and a relatively high population of people aged 65 or over.

The suburb is viewed primarily as an inner-city worker’s home, allowing for a quick commute and easy access to entertainment precincts such as South Bank and Fortitude Valley.

Across 2020, Kangaroo Point had 698 one-bedroom apartment lodgements, 841 two-bedroom apartments, 38 three-bedroom houses and 19 four-bedroom houses.

But as slick new towers rise, some residents have decried the loss of its rougher tin-and-timber heritage as a traditionally industrial worker’s suburb, blaming a new neighbourhood plan that came into force last year.

The neighbourhood plan, developed by the council with community input, allows for 15-storey apartment towers, up from 10 storeys. It came into affect in February last year.

In one instance, an 1880s-era timber cottage now stands dwarfed by a high-rise tower curving around it at the corner of Lambert and Castlebar Streets.

Brisbane City Council also recently approved the relocation of three pre-1911 timber cottages on Lambert Street, sitting in front of a controversial planned three-storey tower development.

The 10-storey, three-tower development with 200 apartments was approved by Brisbane City Council but a later application to lift the height to 15 storeys and have 300 apartments was rejected.

The rejection is now being appealed in the Planning and Environment Court.

Other significant heritage buildings are in poor condition, such as Lamb House, or Home, standing on the cliffs looking toward the city. The house is the subject of a lengthy and contentious debate after the council decided to sell it to reclaim thousands of dollars of unpaid rates.

Another heritage house, Shafston House, was recently sold.

Kangaroo Point resident Dr Ian Scott said the community wanted the council to go back to the start and re-do the peninsula’s neighbourhood plan with a broader base of community input.

But the council’s City Planning and Economic Development Committee chair Krista Adams said it was too early to determine if the neighbourhood plan was working as planned.

“Neighbourhood plans guide the growth of an area over an approximate 20-year period,” she said.

Cr Adams said the council did not set targets for density or population growth, but Brisbane needed to meet a state-mandated target of 188,000 new dwellings, 94 per cent in “consolidation areas such as Kangaroo Point”.

Dr Scott said the rapid rate of development was leaving residents living in a suburb full of construction noise, empty apartment blocks, and few amenities.

“We’re trying to put far too many developments in a very small area, particularly when recent developments that have been completed stand half-empty — or indeed completely empty,” he said.

Retired social worker Rosemary Ness, who has lived in Kangaroo Point for years, said residents were not against development, but wanted “ethical” projects that suited the suburb.

Cr Adams said the council was “dedicated to balancing the needs of a growing community while preserving the history of Kangaroo Point”.

Despite its close proximity to the CBD, Kangaroo Point has limited amenity, with few cafes and a handful of pubs on the eastern side of the suburb off Main Street.

The closest supermarkets are in Spring Hill or East Brisbane, although an application from Woolworths is under assessment by Brisbane City Council.

It doesn’t have a library, and a long-promised Riverwalk extension along the eastern side of the river has yet to eventuate.

Cr Adams said the council still had the Riverwalk listed in its long-term plan, but the Labor state government had made a $22 million election pledge to build missing Riverwalk connections.

A $190 million green bridge will connect the suburb to the CBD within two years, and a new underpass between the Story Bridge will improve pedestrian and cycling access.

The suburb falls into the East Brisbane State School catchment, and according to ABS data it only has one school-aged childcare service, no long day care centres, no kindergartens, and just two aged care facilities.

Greens councillor for the Gabba Ward Jonathan Sri, said residents were primarily concerned with the suburb’s lack of infrastructure.

“Kangaroo Point is already one of the most densely populated suburbs in Queensland, but the lack of investment in new public parkland, public housing, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes and other community facilities is really starting to show,” he said.

Cr Sri said it was “a question of balance” when it came to density and amenity.

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Paddington house sold for $7.75 million, smashing suburb record


A landmark home in need of renovation has smashed the Paddington suburb record after it sold for an eye-watering $7.75 million just days after hitting the market.

The pre-war estate – perched on a rare 4135-square-metre parcel in the inner-city Brisbane suburb – had been in the same family for more than 100 years, making the home a once-in-two-generation buy that sparked nothing short of a feeding frenzy.

Co-selling agent Tom Lyne, of Ray White New Farm, said the home garnered four offers of $7.5 million and higher from buyers on their database before the property was even listed.

The six-bedroom home sold to a local family, smashing the previous suburb record – set by the $5.45 million sale of a five-bedroom home in 2017 – by more than $2 million.

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The estate on Fernberg Road is spread across 10 lots and is across the street from Government House.

The home at 197 Fernberg Road is across the street from Government House, home to Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey.

Mr Lyne said the new family, who beat developers to snag their slice of Paddington paradise, plan to renovate the sprawling three-level house to create their dream home.

“The owners are rapt. It had been in their family for a couple of generations, and they were at the point where it was a lot to look after, so they’ve relocated,” Mr Lyne said.

“We didn’t even get a chance to advertise the home on Domain or other portals [before the home was snapped up]. In my career, to have four official offers [for a home in this price range] before it’s even listed is unheard of.”

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The home had been held by one family for more than 100 years.

While Brisbane’s red-hot prestige property market had fuelled the outstanding result, Mr Lyne said, the sheer scarcity of such homes led to the record-smashing sale.

“To find a block that big in that location with an opportunity like that, well, they just don’t come by. And the next-door neighbour is the governor, so it’s a truly rarefied property,” Mr Lyne said.

“It appealed to home owners and developers because there were 10 existing lots (on that parcel). But this local family bought it with plans to be there for 20 or 30 years.”

He said the house itself was pre-war but had been upgraded post-war and was an absolute renovator’s delight, with the property featuring a tennis court and a pool on a prime lot with sweeping city views.

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The buyers plan to renovate the Fernberg Road house to turn it into their dream home.

Mr Lyne said what made the sale even more special was that all four offers came from Brisbane residents, with the vendors thrilled to pass their home onto locals.

“So, as much as we are experiencing [increased interest from] interstate and overseas buyers, don’t underestimate the local market,” he said.

“And the market is improving week by week … I’ve never seen the prestige sector better. It’s very, very hot.

“Brisbane is such a great news story right now with all the infrastructure projects … it’s Brisbane’s time to shine.”

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Walker Corporation pushes ahead with project to build new suburb at Buckland Park


A project to create 12,000 homes in Adelaide’s northern outskirts will drive unnecessary urban sprawl, according to the SA Greens — but the billionaire developer behind it says it will help improve housing affordability at a time of record prices.

After more than a decade of planning, work is now going ahead on the Walker Corporation’s Buckland Park project near the towns of Virginia and Angle Vale and their surrounding market gardening communities.

The corporation said the $3 billion project, called Riverlea, would create the state’s “largest master-planned community” and assist with “post-COVID economic recovery”.

But the project has attracted criticism since its inception, because of its proximity to the flood-prone Gawler River and concerns over urban sprawl.

Developer and executive chairman Lang Walker said the intention was to create a community that would drive economic growth outside of Adelaide’s CBD.

“Not everyone’s going to be working in the CBD. We’ve got another very large industrial estate out there in the vicinity,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“This will generate self-employment in that whole region itself. It’s a community within a community.

“This project has a life of 20 years, maybe 25 years, and that brings shopping, it brings 10,000 jobs over the period of the house-building and all the trades.”

The Walker Corporation says the project includes 450 hectares of open space.(Walker Corporation)

Adelaide property prices have hit record highs in recent weeks, and Mr Walker said house and land packages would be available for less than the price of “a block of land in Sydney and Melbourne”.

“We’re pitching into the affordable market and bringing in all the community benefits there,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity to get people into houses.”

But Greens MP Mark Parnell has previously labelled the project a “ghetto in waiting” and said planning experts had consistently flagged problems with it.

“They knew it was a rotten project 14 years ago, and it’s still a rotten project,” he said.

“This is a bit like a zombie movie. I thought it was dead and [then] you look and it’s come back to life.

“There’s a whole range of issues … it’s a flood-prone area.”

Local teacher Robyn Lewis said some produce growers were worried about the impact on an area she said was “called the ‘salad bowl’ for a reason”.

Buckland Park resident Robyn Lewis.
Buckland Park resident Robyn Lewis says the project will bring major benefits.(ABC News: Candice Prosser)

But she said the area was “blossoming” and that the project would deliver much-needed amenities.

“We don’t have a lot of public transport out here and I’m sure, in the infrastructure [plan], that will be looked at,” she said.

“Schools are going to be built in the area [which] is fantastic for parents — they don’t have to load their children onto a bus in the morning, with all the worries that come with that.

“The fact that there’s going to be shopping centres will be great.”

Existing roads to be upgraded

Mr Walker said the project would include more than 450 hectares of open space and 50 hectares of lakes and waterways.

“There’s close on 40 kilometres of bike paths,” he said.

“We’re investing $3 billion in it so we’re very confident that this is what Adelaide needs.”

Gawler River at Baker Road in Virginia
The Gawler River at Virginia burst its banks and flooded in 2016.(ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)

But Mr Parnell likened it to the infamous Mount Barker development, which then-planning minister John Rau in 2011 conceded had been poorly handled.

“Mount Barker has now become a case study in appalling planning,” Mr Parnell said.

“As a city, Adelaide — the idea that we’ve come to is that they’re should probably be some limit to urban expansion on the fringe.

“Unless we want urban sprawl forever, unless we want Los Angeles and to be like that, we do need to have a containment boundary.”

An artist's impression of a new suburb.
Developer Lang Walker says the project will create affordable housing.(Walker Corporation)

A spokesperson said the Department for Infrastructure and Transport would “continue to monitor population growth” and “assess public transport requirements” in the area.

“Roadworks are being undertaken to construct a signalised intersection at the junction of Port Wakefield Road and Angle Vale Road as part of the residential community development Riverlea,” the spokesperson said.

“Traffic lights at the junction of Port Wakefield Road and Angle Vale Road are expected to be installed in mid-2021.

“The works will include some road and speed restrictions to facilitate construction.”

Ms Lewis welcomed the installation of the traffic lights at the intersection.

“There have been a few accidents on that corner and with more traffic there’s a possibility of more,” she said.

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Paddington house sold for $7.75 million, smashing suburb record


A landmark home in need of renovation has smashed the Paddington suburb record after it sold for an eye-watering $7.75 million just days after hitting the market.

The pre-war estate – perched on a rare 4135-square-metre parcel in the inner-city Brisbane suburb – had been in the same family for more than 100 years, making the home a once-in-two-generation buy that sparked nothing short of a feeding frenzy.

Co-selling agent Tom Lyne, of Ray White New Farm, said the home garnered four offers of $7.5 million and higher from buyers on their database before the property was even listed.

The six-bedroom home sold to a local family, smashing the previous suburb record – set by the $5.45 million sale of a five-bedroom home in 2017 – by more than $2 million.

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The estate on Fernberg Road is spread across 10 lots and is across the street from Government House.

The home at 197 Fernberg Road is across the street from Government House, home to Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey.

Mr Lyne said the new family, who beat developers to snag their slice of Paddington paradise, plan to renovate the sprawling three-level house to create their dream home.

“The owners are rapt. It had been in their family for a couple of generations, and they were at the point where it was a lot to look after, so they’ve relocated,” Mr Lyne said.

“We didn’t even get a chance to advertise the home on Domain or other portals [before the home was snapped up]. In my career, to have four official offers [for a home in this price range] before it’s even listed is unheard of.”

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The home had been held by one family for more than 100 years.

While Brisbane’s red-hot prestige property market had fuelled the outstanding result, Mr Lyne said, the sheer scarcity of such homes led to the record-smashing sale.

“To find a block that big in that location with an opportunity like that, well, they just don’t come by. And the next-door neighbour is the governor, so it’s a truly rarefied property,” Mr Lyne said.

“It appealed to home owners and developers because there were 10 existing lots (on that parcel). But this local family bought it with plans to be there for 20 or 30 years.”

He said the house itself was pre-war but had been upgraded post-war and was an absolute renovator’s delight, with the property featuring a tennis court and a pool on a prime lot with sweeping city views.

197 Fernberg Road, Paddington.
The buyers plan to renovate the Fernberg Road house to turn it into their dream home.

Mr Lyne said what made the sale even more special was that all four offers came from Brisbane residents, with the vendors thrilled to pass their home onto locals.

“So, as much as we are experiencing [increased interest from] interstate and overseas buyers, don’t underestimate the local market,” he said.

“And the market is improving week by week … I’ve never seen the prestige sector better. It’s very, very hot.

“Brisbane is such a great news story right now with all the infrastructure projects … it’s Brisbane’s time to shine.”

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Queensland police investigate suspicious death in north Brisbane suburb of Bracken Ridge



Queensland Police are investigating the death of a 39-year-old man in Brisbane’s north.

Officers were called to a property on Wobur Street in Bracken Ridge after midday Sunday.

It is understood a relative had found the man inside the house.

Authorities are calling for anyone who witnessed suspicious behaviour in the area from 11:00pm on Saturday to come forward.

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