No bail for suspected shotgun armed robber

A 26-YEAR-OLD Portland man was yesterday remanded in custody on an armed robbery charge after an extensive manhunt west of Portland on Monday. 

Aaron Ellis, 26, of Hurd Street, appeared in the Portland Magistrates Court. He did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on June 16.

Mr Ellis had been remanded in custody overnight Monday at the Warrnambool police station cells after he was arrested near the South Australian border following a search involving south-west and South Australian police officers on Monday afternoon.

He has been charged with a dozen offences including armed robbery and aggravated burglary, with more charges expected to be laid.

A bail justice was told during a remand hearing on Monday night that Mr Ellis’ alleged offending started overnight last Thursday when he was allegedly involved in a break-in at a Tyrendarra farmhouse.

Police say Mr Ellis broke into a gun safe containing four guns and took a shotgun and ammunition.

They allege Mr Ellis was having relationship issues and officers had been in touch with his partner during the weekend while continuously searching for him. 

However, efforts to arrange for Mr Ellis to surrender himself to police were unsuccessful. On Monday police continued to search for Mr Ellis after becoming aware he may have been in the north Portland area.

Portland police station received a report about 1pm that a man had approached two occupants of a home near the railway line.

Police said Mr Ellis made it known he was in possession of the shotgun and demanded the people hand over the keys to a Holden Commodore.

It is then alleged Mr Ellis drove off in the car and headed west towards the South Australian border.

At one stage there was a pursuit involving Victorian police and Mr Ellis turned off into the forest in an effort to evade officers. Police cordoned off an area in an effort to contain the suspect with officers from Portland, Hamilton, Coleraine, Heywood and South Australia involved in the operation.

The court was told Mr Ellis lost control of the Commodore about 2.30pm and crashed near the Donovans Landing turn-off approaching the border.

He was arrested by Portland highway patrol unit police officers and handed over to crime investigation unit detectives. He was interviewed, charged and remanded in custody by a bail justice to appear in court yesterday.

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