LIKE FATHER, LIKE SCUM
Manhunt launched over alleged arson attack
A MANHUNT is on for a fugitive father and son who are believed to be responsible for a million- dollar fire north of Townsville and a string of other offences at rural properties in three states.
Convicted criminals Gino Stocco, 57, and his son Mark Stocco, 35 ( right), from Ingham, have reportedly been on the run for eight years from police in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Police have issued a public alert to help find the pair, who they believe could be responsible for a number of thefts and property offences.
The Stoccos were jailed for several months in 2007 in Victoria after they stole the identities of a priest, a soldier serving in Iraq and acquaintances to finance a fake luxury lifestyle on a yacht.
Their latest activities came to light after NSW MP Mark Coulton posted an alleged victim’s story on Facebook.
The post said a couple hired “John and Mark” as caretakers for their rural NSW property in April last year.
The unnamed woman said the pair performed all jobs as requested until the relationship soured and they left.
In the days and weeks that followed, the couple had more than 72 tyres slashed, three firearms, a 200- litre diesel fuel tank, 500 litres of diesel fuel and other tools stolen, and more than 30 fences cut.
“This is what they are doing to us,” the woman said
“From talking with police and other victims we believe they have been targeting and harassing rural people and communities for years, including arson, violence, malicious damage and assault.
“They have allegedly left stock without water in a drought. Don’t think they won’t be in your area – we have reports from Queensland to Victoria.”
The Stoccos are wanted for questioning over an arson that left a Bambaroo farmer with burns after he fought a fire that destroyed almost $ 1 million worth of equipment last August.
The cane grower had to battle intense heat in an attempt to save his new tractor, prized custom- made boat and farming truck parked in two sheds just metres from where his family were sleeping.
Queensland’s stock and rural crime investigation squad has issued a warning to land owners to verify the identity of anyone they employ.
“If you are advertising for assistance on your property, please be aware that not every person who answers your ad has a legitimate reason for assisting you, or has your best interests at heart,” a statement from the squad said.
Both men are about 175cm tall with brown eyes, of slim build and caucasian appearance and may be driving a 2012 Silver Nissan Navara and/ or a white 2008 Toyota LandCruiser.
The registration numbers of the vehicles are unknown. Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of the men should contact Policelink on 131 444 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.