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This case takes us to Main Street, Small Town, Australia, where *Detective Graeme is called to investigate an early morning blaze in the local business district. Fortunately, firefighters put out the flames before anyone is hurt, but the shops suffer extensive smoke damage. As Graeme picks through the debris, he discovers evidence that the fire was no accident. A bit of luck and good old-fashioned detective work help Graeme and his team zero in on the culprit.

The Detective: Retired Detective Sgt. Graeme. After witnessing a bank robbery, Graeme decided to join the Victoria Police where he graduated from the police academy in 1994. He worked the ‘beat’ across many suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne before being promoted to Detective in 2003. In 2006 he transferred to the prestigious Homicide Squad, honing his skills from the legends of Victoria Police Homicide. He has also led small teams in the pressured world of armed robbery investigations. Graeme is the recipient of the National Emergency Medal (Black Saturday Bushfires 2009), National Medal (25 years service), National Police Service Medal and Victoria Police Ethical Service Medal. After an esteemed career as a Detective Sergeant with Victoria Police, Graeme went on to establish Peregrine Consultancy and Investigations in 2021.

Read Transcript

Graham: [00:00:03] And he rang me that night on my mobile, which had been given. And there was a bit of cat and mouse there as well. He’s like, “So, Graham, this is arson.” “Yes, it is. It definitely is arson.” And his next questions were interesting that he goes, “Well, do you think I did it?” So, my response was, “Sure, I think that you’ve done it.”

Yeardley: [00:00:23] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.

Dan: [00:00:25] I’m Dan.

Dave: [00:00:26] And I’m Dave.

Yeardley: [00:00:27] And this is Small Town Dicks.

Dan: [00:00:30] Dave and I are identical twins, and we’re retired detectives from Small Town, USA.

Dave: [00:00:35] Together, we’ve investigated thousands of cases. From petty theft to sex crimes, from child abuse to murder.

Dan: [00:00:41] Every case on our podcast is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they broke the case.

Dave: [00:00:48] Names, places, and certain details, including relationships have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.

Dan: [00:00:55] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved, out of respect for what they’ve been through.

In Unison: [00:01:06] Thank you.

[Small Town Dicks theme playing]

Yeardley: [00:01:15] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:01:21] She started with me first. Hello, Yeardley. It’s good to be here.

Yeardley: [00:01:23] [giggling] Hello, Dav, as I like to call you. We have Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:01:28] Hello there.

Yeardley: [00:01:29] Hello you. Always rather formal, that one.

Dave: [00:01:32] Mm-hmm.

Dan: [00:01:33] I never know what to say.

Yeardley: [00:01:34] Buttoned up, you’re perfect. And Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome a new guest to the podcast, retired Detective Sergeant Graham.

Graham: [00:01:45] Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for having me. Very excited.

Yeardley: [00:01:47] This is so cool. And perhaps you can hear, Graham’s not from here. Graham is joining us from the other side of the world. Graham, you’re in Australia.

Graham: [00:01:57] Yeah, that’s right. I’m actually on the border with Victorian New South Wales, sort of down the southeast part of Australia on the East Coast. Bit of God’s country up here in the hills.

Yeardley: [00:02:06] Would you give us a little bit of a picture of your jurisdiction and your agency when you were a detective sergeant there?

Dave: [00:02:14] And maybe add some special assignments that you experienced over your career?

Yeardley: [00:02:19] Yes, that’d be great.

Dave: [00:02:20] Yep, for sure. Yeah, I did just over 27 years, eventually, in the Victoria Police Force, which again, is in that southeast corner of Australia. Quite a large demographic of population density in that part of Victoria from what the rest of Australia can be. So, I did my time. The gray hair now shows from 1994 onwards [Yeardley chuckles] in Melbourne, mostly my time in metropolitan Melbourne. So, your classic city environment, and work my way up through the ranks to eventually some of the highlights of my career working in the homicide squad in Melbourne, and then the armed robbery squad as well. So, a lot of that craft learning from your senior investigators eventually led me to promotion to Detective Sergeant. I took the move with my young family at the time up to the northeast of Victoria, so about three hours north of Melbourne out to the country.

[00:03:08] The idea was to slow down a little but that probably didn’t work out so much because it was just as busy in the country, but with significantly less resources and relying on, I guess, your problem-solving ability as opposed to traditional techniques that we can get access to at the drop of a finger in the city.

Yeardley: [00:03:25] Yeah. We find that that’s one of the artifacts of being in small town law enforcement, is that you’re expected to produce the same high level of work product, but with so many fewer resources.

Graham: [00:03:35] Yeah. For sure, could not agree more. But when you’ve got a fantastic team of dedicated community investigators, you can sort of almost hide, for lack of a better word, in the city from your area. Whereas in the country, you’re responsible, you run into everyone, having a coffee. Everyone knows what’s going on around town. So, you’ve got that pressure and responsibility to be the best you can every day.

Yeardley: [00:03:56] Ah, fantastic. So, Graham, you have a really interesting case for us today. Tell us how this case came to you.

Graham: [00:04:02] My first day back from a substantial amount of leave, I walked into the office and found that the very first investigation was a suspicious fire of a large commercial premises, right in the middle of our town. So, your classic country town with an urban heart, a long main street, shops either side, and right in the center of that pretty much as you would drop a pin in the middle of our town. There’s quite a large building structure that housed 12 businesses under that one roof line, and this was our crime scene. So, significant damage to one café as part of that business, but all the businesses were affected due to the smoke damage that got into the roof. So, they all had to stop trading. So, we had real estate, hairdressers, clothing stores, offices, and this café.

Yeardley: [00:04:46] All these small businesses, these are these people’s livelihoods?

Graham: [00:04:50] Yeah, exactly. And for them to just shut for one day, it’s significant. And as these turns out, the building had to be sound, it had to be reconfigured because all the electrical wiring needed replacing so. Ended up being a couple of weeks for all of them to be out to businesses, unfortunately, some of them had to close.

Dave: [00:05:05] You show up to work, and they’ve already got this crime scene established. What time did the call come out and what was the response? What were the details that came out when the call came in that your officers need to head that direction?

Graham: [00:05:19] Yes. We’re very fortunate in this case that it was actually a passing ambulance returning from a response job that saw the smoke coming out of the middle of the city as they returned to their base, and they called the job into 000, that there was smoke from the structure.

Yeardley: [00:05:32] 000 is Australia’s version of 911?

Graham: [00:05:35] Exactly. In the early stages of the fire, the fire brigade was alerted. So, it was a great result for us in the scheme of an arson scene that the fire was extinguished relatively quickly. Otherwise, the fire brigade did tell us later that if had been another five minutes, they probably would have lost all of those businesses. So, very critical that call came in early and was about 3:30 in the morning that the call came in via the ambulance to the police. And obviously, that’s when the balloon goes up for all the services. Once they’re able to make that safe, then the uniform members at our station would guard that overnight and call the on-call detective, who would leave the guard on that through to the morning where daylight would be able to give us a much safer look at what the crime scene was giving us.

[00:06:18] So, I started work at about 8 o’clock. It got to a little bit later in the day when I checked on the team that was out at the scene, how’s it going out there. And they said, “We think you need to come down have a look, there might be something more to it.” And the reason for that was, initially, it was thought it might be an electrical fire. There was a hallway that goes down the sort of the middle of the structure, then the electrical room that fed off to the power obviously to all the different businesses within there. That was significantly damaged as well, because it was right next door to the café that caught the most of the fire.

[00:06:48] The initial stages was it may be electrical. We’re thinking it’s electrical, we just need to tick a few more boxes and be satisfied that it’s not arson. I thought we’ll just duck down and we’ll have a look and see exactly what’s going on there. There’s nothing like getting yourself immersed into that scene, then seeing it for yourself. I went down there. Very small café, serves rolls, sandwiches, coffee, few drinks. Not a large café but a country café that you would think is normal for a town of about 40,000 people. It was relatively new. We’d seen it in town. I’d been there a couple of times to welcome a new business and support them, but wasn’t doing an overly successful trade, but was having a go nonetheless. And we had all the businesses there, waiting to see what was going to happen, trying to find out was this political or was it not.

[00:07:41] But it didn’t take me long to have a look at one part of the scene, particularly the front door to the electrical room. It was a metal door that was laying on the ground at the front within the crime scene. I quickly asked one of my team that was there and clarified that there was some damage on the bottom of this metal door, and that it was almost as if it would have been pried from the bottom up. And initially, I thought, “Is this something that the fire brigade have done in their response to suppress the fire. Was this them?” Some calls quickly made to the team that put the fire out and they confirmed with us that it definitely wasn’t them that when they turned up, the door was damaged from the lower end of the door, as if it had been pried upwards. That immediately that said to me that this has been damaged pre-fire and was allowing oxygen into that area of the electrical room to let the fire take off.

[00:08:26] And then, we were able to flip that door over, we could see the wooden frame. It was clear to me that the bottom part of that wood that was meant to be on the door had completely been burned away, indicating the fire started low. The fire hadn’t come from a higher part of that door. It had definitely come from the ground level, and that was gone. And the higher part of the wood on the door had the alligator ring or the classic burn marks that looks like the back of a crocodile or an alligator. We call it alligatoring here and shows how hot the fire was at that point indicating where the area of origin was likely from.

[00:08:59] To me, I went straight away, “Let’s put that door back up where it was.” So, physical fit it back to where it would have been when the fire started. And it was very clear that the bottom part of the door had been pried upwards pre-fire due to the burn pattern. So, I immediately went, “This is arson. This is a crime scene we need to broaden our investigation.” And our initial response was to start looking for some CCTV around what happened at 3:30 in the morning, before this fire started.

Yeardley: [00:09:25] How does that make you feel as a detective in this small town knowing that somebody has intentionally sabotaged this group of small businesses? Is that alarming?

Graham: [00:09:37] Certainly is. Everyone struggles at the best of times to make their living and to see so many businesses affected by what we now knew was arson. It was challenging to undo what had already got out. The jungle drums in the country can beat pretty quick, as you can imagine. [Yeardley laughs] And everyone was already thinking, “This is electrical. There’s nothing to see here. This is fine.” So, it’s hard to engage the community back to, “Did you see something suspicious?” when they’ve already parked it to, “There’s nothing wrong there. There’s no need to be concerned.”

[00:10:07] The local media did report that it was potentially electrical. So, it was hard to get that back. But we called a press conference eventually and let them know definitely it was arson and we were looking for people that may have been out and about around that time. But again, a small country town, like we mentioned at the start, we don’t have many people out at 3:30 in the morning up here. So, witnesses would be few and far between. So, we’d have to rely on some CCTV. And yet again, there’s not a lot like you see in the city, every second shop or every shop has CCTV. Whereas up here, not so much.

Yeardley: [00:10:39] So, how do you go about getting that narrative back so the community will reengage?

Graham: [00:10:44] Yeah, great point. It’s something we discussed as a team in a good old-fashioned investigation meeting, what do we stand to gain? What do we stand to lose if we roll this out? We decided as a group that let’s go for a little bit of shock value, because we needed to get everyone engaged again after we’d lost them. And we were fortunate enough once we realized that this definitely was arson, not only the door aspect, but we had a good look at the electrics in that room and it was heat damage. But certainly, the fire did not originate from the power box or anything electrical. So, we called a press conference, and we were lucky enough to find in one of those 12 businesses was a hairdresser right next door to an alleyway that led down the middle of the businesses into a court. So, all the businesses fed off this court. That alleyway is locked by gates normally overnight.

[00:11:32] When we checked the CCTV at the hairdresser’s, lo and behold, there’s an unidentified person five minutes before the fire walking in in dark clothing and a hoodie and covering their face towards the camera that is pointing at them from the hairdresser’s showing, they knew the camera was there. So, immediately, we thought this person is either done some reconnaissance of the premises, or they’re familiar with that area, so they tried to hide their face from that camera knowing was there. We collected that footage from the hairdresser’s and we went to press with it, that shock value of, “No, this is arson and here is our person that we need to identify. And we want your help.” It was difficult because that particular footage wasn’t conclusive as to really, we believed it was male, it was probably about as good as what we could get. Covered head to toe, dark clothing, looked almost like they were in multiple layers of clothing that changed their body size. But there were some things about that tweaks your investigator sensors that goes, this person knew the camera was there, they’re familiar with the layout, they were able to get through that gate relatively easily, which we had to investigate. Is it a padlock? Is it a code? How does that work? But would have needed a key. So, we’re thinking inside job, it has to be someone that has access to that particular lock, and would be familiar with the layout of the courtyard and the businesses.

Yeardley: [00:12:55] And the lock on the gate wasn’t damaged. So, you guys thought they must actually have the key in hand?

Graham: [00:13:02] Correct. Yes, so definitely wasn’t damaged. I was at the stage of allocating these jobs to my team, which we didn’t have too many. We only had about three or four at the time, then that was all hands-on deck. We’re on a clock. We had to collect as much evidence in that first 24 or 48 hours before it gets lost, and particularly the CCTV.

Yeardley: [00:13:21] Why is that timeframe so critical? If you guys have locked off the crime scene, why is 48 hours kind of the max?

Graham: [00:13:29] Couple of reasons, predominately for us at that time was the CCTV. Everyone’s system can be different. It may rewrite over itself. They may not save what needs to be saved. The amount of times unfortunately is, Dan and Dave might recall with their experience, that you go to see someone for CCTV, and if you’d only come a couple of days earlier, it wouldn’t have rewritten it over itself, and you’d have it.

Dave: [00:13:49] Every time.

Graham: [00:13:51] Every time.

Yeardley: [00:13:51] Or, that camera doesn’t work. It’s just there for show.

Graham: [00:13:55] Yes, correct. And that was the case here. We saw a couple of cameras we went, “Ah, great, we’re going to get more footage,” and we’re working backwards. So, we had the footage from the hairdresser, or the barber’s. So, we’re trying to work backwards from there and track where this person came from, and it was proving exactly like you said, Yeardley, “No, that one’s just for show.” And we’re just sort of banging our heads up against the wall but we knew that we had time. So, limited feet on the ground to actually do that walking and get it done. And also, probably to the point for that 48 hours, people’s memories start to go. They move on. They’re not trained to the way that, I guess, we can in law enforcement, and even the best of us, your memory does start to go after a while. So, what you thought was a dark-colored balaclava might start to be a blue one.


Graham: [00:14:40] It can be difficult. So the quicker we can get people statements, certainly the better. But from my point of view, as the manager there, I’m thinking we need to look at motive. Why is this place been targeted? We’ve got 12 businesses that potentially could stand to gain or lose. So, I’m thinking, “Wow, we’re really up against it here. It could be any one of these businesses or anyone associated to these businesses that have the problem?” And identifying that motive for us is one of the keys. You can generally lead to the who, if you can find out the why. So, is it a business issue? Is it an issue with one of the owners? Is someone having extramarital affairs, which can be quite a trigger for arson at times. “I’ll burn that place down because of what you’ve done to me,” type scenario. So, countless motives, but yeah, we had to get to the pointy end of the stick really quickly. But at the same time, get all the available CCTV we could.

Graham: [00:15:45] Again, not a lot of resources or technology, so we just got a massive map of our city and laid it out on the table and started allocating grids for our investigators to walk the beat and just collect every bit of CCTV. We didn’t have the time to sit there and go through an hour each time at each business. We’re just, “Here’s the USB. We need your footage, and we’re going to have to go through it later.” And some amazing work by the team. That was long days, it wasn’t the coolest of days either to walk the beat. Up here in July, it was still pretty warm, and doing the hard yards. So, we got most of that. One investigator’s job was just the CCTV. The poor guy did a great job, and probably not the most exciting job to be given for [Yeardley chuckles] a junior detective. But it really did open things up for us to be honest. It didn’t show us so much. We didn’t capture this person on footage again, throughout all the footage in our town. He was a ghost.

Dave: [00:16:42] But you’ve still got to go through hours and hours of footage, and you’re just looking for one little thing.

Graham: [00:16:49] That’s right. But once we mapped it out, and we showed on the map exactly where we had footage from and the amount of red crosses which indicated that there was just nothing there for us to see, he wasn’t there or car wasn’t there of relevance as you’d expect. There were some people moving, but it clearly wasn’t our guy. So, we had to identify who that was, and remove them as a suspect. Some kids on bikes, for example, we found about a block or so away, around the time just some kids on bikes riding through, but we were able to identify them knowing your town pretty quickly, and find out with them, “Where were you? What did you do?”, and eliminate them.

Dave: [00:17:24] And that’s another aspect is, even when suspects are like, “Well, it wasn’t me. It was probably one of these two guys,” you end up doing so much work to combat a defense attorney down the line that you expend so many resources–

Yeardley: [00:17:39] To eliminate.

Dave: [00:17:40] Yeah.

Graham: [00:17:41] Yeah. Leaving this as the only person who could have done it, because we’ve eliminated every other possibility. What the CCTV did show us was whilst we didn’t have this person on the footage, it was a ghost, it actually showed us the path that they did come through. So, it was the gap is where he wasn’t on the footage, which left a nice little slice of the pie in our city, which went he must have come from this way, because he’s not on any other footage. So, it was almost the reverse to what we’re used to, to seeing someone on the footage and tracking this offender. This was the gap where he wasn’t seen. He must have come from that area. So, we focused then the search to where the gap was. And there was a car park there that also had a laneway into that street. So, we’re going, “He had to have come from that way because we can’t see him on any other footage.”

Yeardley: [00:18:27] And did you wonder if the person knew there’s a gap here in the CCTV, so I’m going to enter from this part of the city?

Graham: [00:18:36] Yep. Exactly right. And that’s what we’re thinking. Again, showing that knowledge of the streets, knowledge of how to get in and how to get out without being seen. But there was that one camera at the barber that they couldn’t avoid. So, again, try to put their hand up to their face or wear bulkier clothing to throw us off. But we weren’t buying it at that stage, and there’s a couple of other reasons why we started to focus on one person in particular. And that was the owner of that café.

And if I can go back to when we looked at that door initially and again going to the scene and having a look, so let’s have a look in the café and have a look around. I was with one of the other investigators, and what jumped out immediately to me was that when I spoke to the owner who had arrived and was having a good look at them and we’re looking at his reaction, and he was very interested in what we’re doing, and how we were doing it, and wanting to know a lot of information. That can be normal at times because it’s their business, but there was just a feel about it.

[00:19:29] So, we explored it and had a look in the business, and we spoke to him and, “When did you first become aware of the fire?” He said he was on his way to work and had just been to the shops to get milk. But what stood out immediately was that when we walked into the business and significant smoke damage and all that you get with a fire, but as I mentioned, it was put out really early, so that the actual fire flame damage was kept to the electrical room and all the other parts of the structures were only smoke damaged. So, everything was pretty well in situ. But it was clear that that café was not prepared to trade that day, everything had been removed. There was no food ready to go in plastic tubs. The freezer and the fridge area had nothing in it. It was obvious to us that this person was not going to trade that day.

Yeardley: [00:20:13] And knew in advance they were not going to trade on that Monday.

Graham: [00:20:17] Yes. We kept that to ourselves, we didn’t release that part to the media. We only released the footage of the person walking through the alleyway past the barbershop. We didn’t want to tip our hand at that point as to who was our person of interest, because that’s all it really was. It didn’t add up. Didn’t look right. But we still had to prove that this person was involved, and not one of the 11 other businessowners.

Dave: [00:20:40] And the businessowner’s name?

Graham: [00:20:42] Rocky. He co-owned the business with his partner, Lucy, and they had been operating that business for probably close to six months at that stage. So, we quickly turn our attention to what’s this business doing? How’s it going? And again, coming back to, what’s the motive here? How’s everything going? And you probably not shocked to hear that out of all 12 businesses, there was only one that hadn’t paid their rent up today.

Yeardley: [00:21:05] Could it be the café? [laughs]

Graham: [00:21:08] Exactly. Substantially behind in their rent, and when we start to dig a bit deeper into the financial aspects, that business had owed a fair bit of money to their coffee supplier. I think it was around $15,000 in rent, and about $5000 to the coffee supplier, so in a bit of dire straits with their financials. So, things are looking up for us, we’re on the right track here. But again, we don’t have a smoking gun or smoking lighter as you will in this case for an arson. A lot of work to be done. So, that’s where really things started to ramp up that we were on the right track. But again, in the country, we don’t have the resources of telephone intercepts or listening devices. So, we had to come up with different strategies on how to tackle this one.

[00:21:50] What probably turned things for us a little bit was again digging into those financials around Rocky and the business. He’d only started this business, as I said, about six months ago, and his previous business was a café over in the neighboring city over in Albury. Whilst that did well, again, there was a lot of commentary from people ringing in at the time, telling us that the business wasn’t being run like a normal business. It was always in debt. He was always seen at the pokies in town.

Yeardley: [00:22:16] What’s a pokey?

Graham: [00:22:18] Pokey, so what you call them over there? Slot machines?

Yeardley: [00:22:21] Okay, yeah.

Graham: [00:22:23] Bit of a gambling problem. And the money just coming through the business and straight into gambling, not a good business strategy, that one. So, we had a look at his bank accounts. We spoke to him early stages, because we had him in our sights, and we wanted to lock him into a story, and what better way to do that to actually commit him to a statement? So, one of the team went out. Again, Dan and Dave, you understand your pick your team as to who you’re going to send to that interview, who would be best poised for that statement. I sent a couple of my detectives out who are amazing investigators, and so clever around the psychology of dealing with someone like this in this case. We were believing Rocky was our suspect. He was playing a bit of cat and mouse, “Do they know yet? Am I in the firing line or not?” But we locked him into a statement.

[00:23:11] His statement was that he was at home in bed with his partner, Lucy, and asleep. And that was his alibi. So, we got a statement from her as well, and pretty much the same thing. “Yeah, we went to bed same time, went to sleep, woke up. He was there.” We were in a bit of a situation here that he had a pretty good alibi that they were both in bed together. She’s corroborating him, believable, no issue whatsoever with their recollection of events. We’re in a bit of a pickle and have to try and prove that either is he the person that gets out of bed. It’s a bit of a stretch to think that Rocky gets up out of bed, goes and lights the fire and then comes back to bed, and Lucy hears nothing, or has he got a third party to go and do it on his behalf, and he has a nice watertight alibi.

[00:23:54] We went to work on that, it was really starting to open up here, but creating much more work with a lot less hours to try and do it. Again, weighing up what we may lose, where does our focus need to be? So, we had to split some of the team, some focusing on looking at footage around town, how do we put Rocky out of bed and awake or up and about. Not a lot of mobile phone towers in our town, I think we’ve got about four or five, so hard to trace anyone on our tower using their phone. And we’re of the thought process that, “If it is him and he’s been conscious enough to pick his point on where to avoid CCTV, he’s not going to be silly enough to be on his phone and leave an obvious trace.” So, whilst we had the phone checks in, it wasn’t something we’re chasing as hard as the financials or some other aspects to witnesses accounts on the day.

Yeardley: [00:24:43] I’m assuming that he wore gloves, or as much as you could see on that CCTV image, all in black, and there are no fingerprints anywhere.

Graham: [00:24:52] Yeah, exactly right. The smoke damage is enough that prints weren’t available, but we did come up a bit of a winner with some of the financials, in that Rocky was behind in his rent. And when we spoke to the landlords, they said, “Yes, we’ve got a letter from his bank that a deposit to pay his rent had gone astray, had been deposited into the wrong account, and that they’re researching where that money’s gone.” And we thought, “No, no. This isn’t right.” So, we dug a little deeper, and we contacted the banks directly, not just the landlord that was receiving this information, taking it at face value. We did uncover that whilst a transaction had been made by Rocky, that was only for about $500 had been transferred into an incorrect account, and he had lodged a claim with the bank about $500. But he had received a letter from the bank acknowledging that this claim has been made, but he altered that to read $5,000, not $500.

Yeardley: [00:25:50] So, just to be clear, Rocky was honest with the bank that he was depositing $500. But then, he forged a letter to his landlord to make it look like it was coming from the bank, and that letter said he had deposited $5,000?

Graham: [00:26:06] Correct. So, he had committed an offense in Victoria of obtaining a financial advantage by tricking the landlord that the money was still coming by representing paperwork on behalf of the bank. So, we had a power to arrest for him on that alone. So, we kept that ace card up our sleeve for a bit, because we’d already started to unravel some lies that it appeared for so long, people had bought his story about paying for either the $5,000 of coffee that he owed, or his rent, or it was just lie upon lie that’s starting to unravel.

Dave: [00:26:52] How many days into the investigation are you at this point?

Graham: [00:26:55] We’re probably over a week in at this stage. You can imagine the long days that the team were doing, and even when you get home, you’re still thinking about things. Actually, you reminded a good point there that when we went to media and we did release that footage, Rocky would have been watching it too. He rang me that night on my mobile, which had been given, and it was a bit of cat and mouse there as well. He’s like, “So, Graham, this is arson?” “Yes, it is, definitely is arson.” And his next questions were interesting that he goes, “Well, do you think I did it?” [Yeardley chuckles] So, my response was, “Sure, I think that you’ve done it.”

Yeardley: [00:27:30] [chuckles] Yeah.

Graham: [00:27:32] A little bit of cat and mouse between us on the phone. Again, it made me think even more that we’re completely on the right track here. It’s either him or he’s had someone do it on his behalf. But a big ask to drag someone else into an arson and have them commit a crime, it’s either got to cost you a fair bit of money or it’s got to be someone so tight with you that it’s got to be almost immediate family. But we’re still pretty confident that somehow it had to be him, but how can we put him out of bed at that time. This phone call was significant that we’re getting to him, that he was under pressure. So, I thought at the time, I’ll give him a little something to think about at the end of the conversation. It was almost like he wanted me to believe it wasn’t him. So, I thought, “I’m not going to give you that. I’ll certainly let you finish on this conversation that I believe it’s you.” I’ve said to him, “What’s interesting, Rocky, out of all the 12 businesses that I’ve spoken to, there’s only one person that hasn’t told me, ‘I hope you catch them.’ Who do you think that is?”

Dave: [00:28:30] Rocky shows a certain degree of sophistication and planning. But in other moments, he shows he’s a novice. To call the detective sergeant and be like, “Hey, um, do you think I did it?” And he’s trying to pump for information to see where he’s left holes in his story and in his plan, and hoping that he’s going to get it. And now, you’ve got somebody saying, “Well, should I think that you did it?” And I’m sure that was a pucker moment for him, where he’s like, “Oh, shit.”

Graham: [00:29:03] Yep, for sure. I think he was certainly puckering for sure. And you’re right, we did think that as well, thinking, he has shown a fair degree of planning and preparation. And on one hand, we’re going, “Well, this is good. If we can get him before a court, showing the court the level of preparation he has gone to, and the level of deceit and lies,” so that when it comes to sentencing that that actually does come with a big stick. This isn’t just, “I’ve made a mistake. I’ve had too much to drink, and I’ve gotten burnt my café down because I don’t like it anymore. I’ve planned this.” And it started to show me that exact point you made that he’s put a lot of thought into some aspects of it, but he’s made some mistakes. And that’s what, I guess, our investigation always is, is finding that mistake that he’s made, and it did start to unravel on him.

[00:29:44] One crucial point, which did come out was, finally we’re about a week in plus and we’d still hadn’t got to absolutely every businessowner through our resources and then locking them into where they were. But we eventually got to one of the businesses that was a remedial massage place. And she’d actually was there on the Sunday afternoon. The fire is 3:30 AM on a Monday morning. She’s trading on the Sunday afternoon, servicing a client at the business and she sees Rocky there on a Sunday afternoon, which the shop isn’t open. She eventually gets a hold of me says, “I actually remember seeing him on the Sunday.” “Are you sure it’s the Sunday? It’s not a couple of days before?” and back to that point about people’s memories. She says, “No, I certainly remember because I’m trying to trade and get some more money and get the business going. I took a couple of clients on the Sunday, and Rocky was there about 3:34 in the afternoon, and he seemed quite shocked to see her.”

Yeardley: [00:30:39] He thought he would be alone.

Graham: [00:30:40] Correct. We probed a bit further a bit further with this and trying to recall her memory as to what she saw anything strange. And she goes, “It was sort of strange. He was moving some things out of the business like a big mirror and some of the electrical pieces out there.” So, we’re thinking, “Oh, this is fantastic. We’ve got him removing all of his assets from the business because he doesn’t want them to perish in the fire.” Probably more importantly, she notices a small Powerade bottle, like a sports drink bottle. It’s got the squirty tops on it that you can quickly guzzle down your Gatorade in. But she says it looks like one of those bottles, but the wrappings not on it. And amazing how people’s memories are, can see some liquid in it, and we’re immediately thinking, “Excellent. This is our accelerant that Rocky’s taken to the scene.” But he’s surprised by her being there, so he quickly has to come up with a version of why he’s there and quickly leaves. Off he goes.

[00:31:30] We thought this is the mistake he’s made. He was probably planning on setting something up then and there. And as it turns out, he had a party that afternoon. It was part of his alibi as well, and he ducked away from the party to go and grab some more supplies for the birthday. But now his plan had flipped on its head, we believed that it was meant to happen then, and he got caught out. And he couldn’t do it there because now he’d been seen.

Dave: [00:31:52] And the party is great, because he’s got numerous witnesses, not just his intimate partner, Lucy. Again, he’s sophisticated, but at the same time, he’s kind of a bumbling mess.

Graham: [00:32:03] Exactly. I actually think he had a plan too on the Sunday. I think his plan on the Sunday was to start the fire in a different business, not in the electrical room. I think he was going to put it in the beauty parlor there with acetones and different things. I think he was going to try and make it look like it originated from there. So, we’re thinking, “Well, he’s had to change his plan. And it’s not a third party that’s turned up on the Sunday, it’s him.” So again, we’re thinking, “It’s got to be him, he’s got out of bed. It must be him.”

[00:32:35] The team gets together, and we have a good discussion around. We don’t have the smoking gun. We haven’t absolutely got that piece of evidence to charge him yet, although we think we’re close. But we need that. And we don’t want to drag him in yet, because he’s already shown his hand that he’s going to deny it’s him. I don’t think we’re going to get him to roll on this offense or make any admission. So, let’s roll the dice, and let’s have a look closer to his house. There was a couple of kilometers from the CBD of where he was living with Lucy, and we’d already had that place under as best as surveillance we could have with limited resources.

Yeardley: [00:33:06] The CBD is the café?

Graham: [00:33:08] Yes. The central business district of town. He was only about two kilometers from the CBD. Probably wouldn’t walk. It was one of our theories, you’d probably have to drive if you wanted to get in and get out pretty quick. So, we knew we had a car. Country towns, there’s not your traffic cameras or your tolls or anything that would be available for us that his vehicle’s registration would alert us to. So, we’re really coming up with nothing. We decided to canvass a bit closer to Rocky’s home and see what we get. We went and spoke to a couple of neighbors and door knocked each street, see if we can actually come up with a winner at the other end of the scenario of our crime scene. And yet, we’re very lucky and we found a house next door that had cameras. And lo and behold, here we are at 3:20, is Rocky’s vehicle leaving his address in the middle of the night, and off it goes.

Yeardley: [00:33:56] Graham, I’m so excited for you. [laughs]

Graham: [00:33:59] Yes, we were almost trying to hold the high fives back in front of this poor neighbor thinking, “We’ve got it. We’ve got Rocky out of bed.” That mindset of, “Okay, well, who’s in that car? Is it him? We need to put this to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.” And that can be a quite a significant burden to try and reach.

Dave: [00:34:16] I’m curious. When you speak to Rocky’s neighbor or neighbors, is he aware? Proximity to the neighbor’s house, does he see the police over at his neighbor’s house asking questions? And the other thing is, what kind of relationship does he have with the neighbors where they’re going to say, “Hey, they just asked me about this stuff, and then they pulled some video”?

Graham: [00:34:36] Yeah, for sure. Great points. And things we had to weigh up as to do we actually roll that dice on. If they’re really good mates, he’s going to be alerted straightaway. But we thought we had to take a chance here, and as a team, we went, “Yep, let’s do it. Otherwise, we could bounce around for a number of weeks, locking in all the other financials, but not actually progress things so much.” So, yeah, we did see a couple of the neighbors. Lucy’s parents were across the road, so we decided to stay away from them because of that connection. But again, small country town, everyone knows what vehicles that detectives drive. So, it’s hard to try and stay anonymous in the street or at someone’s house unless you’re going to jump the back fence.


Graham: [00:35:13] We went loud and parked out the front and spoke to that neighbor that had that footage. He surprisingly just comes out with, “Oh, is this about the damage done to Rocky’s car?” And I look at my partner, and I’m like, “Let’s ask some more questions about this,” because he had the lead on asking these questions.” And when we probed a bit further, “Yeah, tell me more about that,” he goes, “Well, Rocky came to me yesterday, and asked about my cameras on the house because his car had been damaged. And he wanted to check the footage to see what it covered.” So, back to that point you make, Dave, about Rocky’s realizing he’s made some mistakes. If the police come and find this footage, we’re going to be able to put him out of bed. So, we think he was trying to either manipulate that footage and get it himself or convince the person to get rid of it. But the owner didn’t, he was fantastic with us, and said, “Yeah, here you go,” where we said, “Look, we need all that footage now. We need the last couple of days.”

[00:36:04] Again, we’re now 9, 10 days in, we’re so grateful for that footage is still available. He had a system that would stay online for 28 days. If he’d had one that was only a week, we would have lost it. So, we finally had a win. Against everything else that we were losing against, we finally had a win. We’re signing this person up for a statement around the footage and the conversation he had with Rocky about the proposed damage to his car, which again, we think was just a ruse to find out what was going on. There was no damage. We had to check that there were no reports to us about this damage. It was just another lie from Rocky to find out where we’re at.

A real concern for us was how far Rocky was prepared to go to cover his tracks. So, was someone else going to be at risk? Was he going to do a burglary next door to get rid of the CCTV? Was he going to then potentially commit a further arson to get rid of it? So, we’re weighing up all those risks as well as how was his mental state? How was he going? Because we did ramp him up a fair bit with some of those comments around, “You’re the only one that didn’t tell me. I hope you catch him, Graham.”

Dan: [00:37:05] How did he respond to that?

Graham: [00:37:07] Silence. Absolute silence. So, I thought, “I’ve got you [crosstalk] want you–


Dave: [00:37:12] Love it.

Graham: [00:37:13] I’m looking at the footage and we’re watching now the live feed on this day of outside, and I see Rocky’s car pull up at the front of his own house. So, I looked at my partner, and I said, “Let’s grab him. Let’s get him now. We’ve got enough.”

Yeardley: [00:37:25] Rocky pulls up while you’re talking to the neighbor?

Graham: [00:37:27] Yeah.

Yeardley: [00:37:28] Okay.

Graham: [00:37:28] So, shock and capture. Let’s grab him. Let’s get him now when he least expects it. We’ve got him on that power of arrest with altering the bank document anyway. So, we’ve got a lawful reason for an arrest here. But we now can actually have his car leaving 10 minutes before the fire. So, let’s grab him. We casually walk out the front and he’s there waiting to meet us, and greet us normal. “Hello, Graham.” “Hello, Rocky.” And we have a bit of a look, but I think my demeanor might have changed by that stage. I was a little bit more confident. And we walked up, and we told him, “Rocky today’s the day you’re under arrest for the arson.” And no response, pretty much just turns around and gives me his wrists and we handcuff him.

Dave: [00:38:09] You imagine the stress Rocky’s under [chuckles] for a week. The moment that he said, “Do you think I did it?” Ever since from that to the moment he’s under arrest, I’m sure he was just buried in stress.

Graham: [00:38:20] Yeah, if he wasn’t puckering before, he’s now.


Dan: [00:38:23] Well, when he sees you guys walking from his neighbor’s house where he already knows that there are cameras and there’s footage that blows his alibi out of the water, he knows. He knows what’s happening.

Graham: [00:38:35] Correct. Yeah, he knows. So, we arrested him. We had our uniform members come down and take him away at that stage, obviously, well, and truly, the balloon has gone up with the neighborhood. Everyone knows now we’ve grabbed him. So, let’s roll.

Graham: [00:39:02] We also wanted to search Rocky’s house for anything, particularly the items that we think he removed from the café. Is he going to have them somewhere else, or is he stupid enough to have them at home? We went to the court and got a warrant and went back and executed and spoke to Lucy at length. And we had been, obviously, communicating with Rocky and Lucy throughout this for clarification on different things. There was nothing alerting us that she was involved or had any knowledge. We’re actually feeling a fair bit of empathy for Lucy at this stage that she’s got no idea. So, again, my detectives went and spoke with her at length. And unfortunately, probably hit her with both barrels that this is what we’re thinking, this is what we have. Here’s the financials, here’s everything. And to say she was shocked with an understatement. To see the books that he ran and was keeping from her and all the other deceit and the lies. You could almost see the change in her face, the poor thing that it was her partner that’s done this, and it was on. We were here.

[00:40:00] We got a statement out of her. It didn’t change much from she was in bed, etc. But we started to get even her permission to search the place top to bottom, and we found a number of items there that were of interest. Yes, we found some of the stock, but that wasn’t out of the ordinary that they were hard up and struggling, so they would occasionally have food from the business and drink from the business. It wasn’t a smoking gun, but we did find in the garage, a Powerade bottle, which matched the description of the other one, and it had a small amount of petrol in it and could smell it and [unintelligible [00:40:30] this is it. The original fuel can for [unintelligible [00:40:35] that we would normally see petrol in, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that keeps their petrol in the Powerade bottle for their lawnmower.

Dave: [00:40:43] Just arsonists. [Yeardley chuckles]

Graham: [00:40:44] Just arsonists, correct. So, we were pretty happy with those results. And then we had to get to the point of interviewing Rocky, and putting some of these allegations to him around the petrol that we found at the house, being seen on the Sunday. His build wasn’t too similar to that on the footage from the barber. His gait, I guess, or his biomechanics, his movement, Rocky did have, I think, some leg surgery in his younger days. So, he did have a bit of an awkward walk. So, we were at the point of, “If we need to, down the track, we’ll get a biomechanics expert to review the footage and review Rocky.”

Dan: [00:41:19] When you served a search warrant at Rocky’s house, did you find clothing that matched what you’d seen on surveillance?

Graham: [00:41:25] No, we didn’t. But we did find a fire pit out the back where I think he burned everything, but because we were on to him even right back at that start, this is on the day of the fire, let’s get Rocky to walk past the same camera with one of the investigators. So, we can actually maybe measure his height, his walk, his gait, sometime down the track.

Yeardley: [00:41:43] What a great idea.

Graham: [00:41:45] A bit of a ruse. We need to come and walk this way and we need you to show us where the entrance to the electrical room is. And we got him on that footage in the end, it was a similar height. Again, defense would certainly look to try and knock that out. But in the end, as it turns out, we didn’t need. We had his car, and we searched that. We found a number of items in his car, the mixer from the café and more food and a lot of documents, business documents and lots of things that you’d expect would remain at the business, particularly the business documents, but they’re on his car as in removed so they wouldn’t perish in the fire.

Yeardley: [00:42:18] Do you think they were going to make a break for it, the business is burned down, will collect the insurance money, I’m assuming, and then move again, move out of the area?

Graham: [00:42:26] Potentially, yeah, that certainly was something we’re thinking of. And we’d had Rocky’s passport stopped so he couldn’t fly prior to his arrest. But we’re confident that he would stay where we needed to have that safety gap to buy some time anyway. We did find though at his arrest, certain things in the car. So, covering all bases, we’ve got to the interview stage that we had to put everything to him and challenging. So, myself and one of the other detectives interviewed him. It was quite an intense interview with strong denials from Rocky and putting it back on us throughout the interview. We showed him the footage of the person walking through that laneway and on the barber’s footage. We were saying, “We think it’s you,” or, “We will allege that it is you in that footage.” He had no comment.

[00:43:08] We’re showing the footage of his vehicle leaving just prior to the fire and coming back after the fire. So, the timings were all perfect. We come out of the interview and one of my team approaches me, he’s like, “Hey, boss, can you come and have a look at this?” And she’s got a very big smile on her face. And I’m thinking, “Excellent. This might be exactly what we’re after.” And it was, if I can use the pokey analogy to say, “We hit the jackpot.” It was gold. She had been asked to go through Rocky’s mobile phone, see what we can find on his phone. And back to your point that he had a significant amount of planning at some point but he really let himself down in others. And particularly, he left his location services on on his phone, and he took his phone with him when he left home. So, we’re able to find actually on his phone that at the time of the fire, he actually had himself on his location services checked into work, checked into the café, at 3:26 AM at the time of the fire.

Dave: [00:44:04] Oops.

Graham: [00:44:05] Yeah, big oops.

Yeardley: [00:44:06] [laughs]

Dave: [00:44:07] Big cities have lots of cell phone towers, and it’s easy to triangulate folks, but small towns, we don’t have cell phone towers, like a city does. So, it’s harder to triangulate. So, you might just get a hit on a tower that just says that it’s northeast of this tower within 1000 yards.

Yeardley: [00:44:27] So, it’s much more vague, more general?

Dave: [00:44:29] Right. You can say they clearly are hitting the closest tower. I can’t put them on a certain spot but sounds like he has an auto check-in to his work. And a lot of stuff going on with his phone behind the scenes and it betrays him in the end.

Graham: [00:44:44] Certainly does. Yeah. Between 3:31 AM and 3:49 AM, he was at work, his phone was at work and he’d even left his– very important to get your steps up for the day, but not when you’re an arsonist, and he left his steps on as well. We were able to work out exactly where he parked the car by tracing his steps back to that car park. Where the initial gap was, that’s where he parked his car. So, we’re even able to track exactly back, walked it ourselves, timed it, and everything lined up with the footage from the barber. So, we were pretty happy with the brief at that stage. It was almost time to charge and go to the pub and have a beer.

Yeardley: [00:45:21] The way you all kept discovering clues in this case just when you needed a break, reminds me of the scavenger hunts I used to do as a kid.

Graham: [00:45:30] Yeah, for sure. And as the guys would appreciate, this one was a bit backwards. We had to go backwards from the same to Rocky’s house. We had to roll the dice on arrest and looking at his phone, and we could have come up zero at any number of those points and may have only been left with a good motive, but could not put him at the scene or put anyone else there. But Rocky managed to do with a bit of that work for us.

Dave: [00:45:51] You guys confront him with this new location data?

Graham: [00:45:54] We didn’t in his interview. We’d put enough to him that he was denying anyway. We just thought with more question to him, he is going to give more denials. And he would receive that evidence when he received his brief about 28 days later. We sought his remand. We charged him remanded based on the seriousness of the charges, $150,000 damage to the structure of the building, and the seriousness of the offense, he was remanded overnight. Eventually was granted bail. He had no prior involvement with us whatsoever. But, of course, that then hit the media that the owner has been charged and this is arson, and the flurry of calls that then come in about, “Yeah, we knew it was him,” or other evidence that may have been or a bit deceitful. But it was almost like people were waiting to justify coming to the police and dobbing him in for different things.

Dave: [00:46:38] Yeah, that’s a witness dynamic that always kind of threw me. I’m like, “Oh, well, we arrested him, and now you’re coming forward? Could have used your help a few days ago.” But it’s a human nature thing.

Graham: Yeah, a bit of comfort. Probably also in our small towns too, because everyone does know everyone. Everyone knew Rocky and his businesses, and didn’t want to believe it, and was a nice guy and did do a lot to help people around town. He was a generally kind person, but had a bad gambling habit, saw no way out, fought his way out to save face within the community that “My business hasn’t failed. It just burnt down,” and was trying to get away with it.

Yeardley: [00:47:16] I think the sad thing when you have an addiction like gambling, is that you’re going to collect the insurance money, in this case, as though that is going to solve the root of your problem. But you have an illness.

Graham: [00:47:31] Exactly right. And whilst Rocky was awaiting trial on bail, we were still receiving information. He was still gambling, and actually had a significant win. But he was silly enough to Snapchat it, so we got sent that. Had a win of about $60,000.

Yeardley: [00:47:46] Wow. And that was to pay for some of the damage of the building of the structure?

Graham: [00:47:50] We’d hope so. But that money went in and out really quickly, and we’ve never been able to find it.

Dave: [00:47:56] Right back into the pokey?

Graham: [00:47:57] Probably, I’d say, yeah. After a long time and a long court process, Rocky eventually pled guilty to the charges. He finally saw and realized the evidence was overwhelming, and found himself at our county court and been sentenced to 21 months imprisonment for a first offense and non-parole of 12 months. So, at the end of the day, he’ll do 12 months in prison. For someone that had no prior convictions, we’re relatively happy with that result for a first-time offender. But the level of deceit and deception and betrayal of all the other businesses and the community really, probably gave him the majority of that sentence.

Yeardley: [00:48:34] And Lucy.

Graham: [00:48:35] And Lucy, correct.

Dan: [00:48:36] I always find it interesting in cases like this where people aren’t physically injured, certainly, there’s a risk of that here, even for the firefighters and the police who show up to the scenes of these fires, but you really don’t have physically injured victims. But these crimes, it really tests your ability to get creative in investigating a case like this, because you have to think of so many different ways of trying to get pieces of evidence that support your case, like reenacting where he came from by the absence of his presence. These cases always fascinate me because it takes me back to being a burglary detective, because it seemed like every one of my cases was like this. You had to just pick them apart in so many different ways. It’s time consuming, it’s tedious. At times, you’re watching surveillance footage seems like all day long and writing narratives based on what you’re seeing or what you’re not seeing. And it’s really rewarding when you finally figure these cases out.

Dave: [00:49:40] My favorite part of this is Graham walking out of the interview and seeing the detective with a big smile on, and that’s the moment you’re like, “Oh, we got him.”

Graham: [00:49:48] Yep. And everyone played their role, an exact role. Whether it was the person on the phones or the poor guy going through the countless hours of CCTV, everyone played their role. And I did have a relatively junior group at the time. Most have gone on for promotion, which was great, and being so thorough, and so invested in these types of investigations as a team really gets you results, because there’s no way that one investigator could have done all this on their own.

Dave: [00:50:10] When I watch true crime shows, like The First 48 in America, Graham had mentioned how you learn from these old detectives who have been there are done that. They provide so much valuable training, and they’ve worked so many cases that they think outside the box already, where you have to really exercise yourself when you’re a junior detective where you’re like, “I’ve got to get outside of the box here. How does that old salty veteran over there do that so easily?” I love the creativity of, “Let’s have him walk back by the camera. Let’s get out to the neighbors. Let’s get into his financials.” And the strategy with not going loud initially, walk him into a statement. If they’re going to lie about the small stuff, they’re not going to be honest about the big stuff, and right out of the gate, he’s, “I was in bed,” easily disproven later on. But junior detectives really soak that stuff up.

Graham: [00:51:05] Yeah, you’re correct. And it was great to see the result for them as well and see the looks on their faces when we knew we’d done absolutely everything to lock this case up, and it was pretty tight. So, we’re happy that we had a bow on it and it was going to result in that guilty plea. So, again, for everyone, no one’s tied up in the trial. All the other businesses are tied up and going through all that trauma again, and trying to get a quick result for everyone, and at the end of the other day and for the justice system not getting tied up unnecessarily.

Dave: [00:51:31] This business center, how long did it take these other businesses to recover and get back into their spaces?

Graham: [00:51:38] It took them a couple of months to get them back in. Some never came back because they had to move on and seek business elsewhere before it can be repaired. And some unfortunately have not retried it. The impacts are still significant years later. It’s really hard to watch, and someone’s selfishness to do this for their own self gain or their own pride or their own addiction has impacted on so many.

Dave: [00:52:00] Is Lucy a devoted partner or she moved on?

Graham: [00:52:04] No, she’s moved on. She pretty much after the first statement she made to us around the Powerade bottle and all the rest of it, credit to her, she cut him off. We got an intervention order on her behalf, and that was it. She’d never gone back, and very happy that she’s moved on, and she’s a lot happier now with someone else.

Yeardley: [00:52:20] Oh, good. An intervention order, is that like a restraining order?

Graham: [00:52:24] Yeah, correct. So, no contact between each other, can’t come within certain distances of where she is in her business and cuts him out of her life.

Yeardley: [00:52:31] I have to say, Graham, it’s so interesting. I’m always struck by this by our detectives from small towns. There is a lasting ripple effect for the entire community, whether you were directly affected by the actual crime, or you just live there. It just adds an extra layer of difficult healing, I think.

Graham: [00:52:54] Certainly does. And being invested so much when you’re a leader of your community, particularly crime was, when people want to feel safe, they want you to solve these things, they don’t want that question mark over there, never caught this person. When we can still run into these people, either grabbing a coffee around town or seeing them at your local gym, it’s just a look of a bit of a nod, a thank you, and knowing exactly that that can be put to bed as opposed to not being resolved. And to see Lucy and her life continue on, and all those others that have been involved and victims, secondary victims, the other businesses, and still see them around town and things have been going reasonably well as best they could under those circumstances, it’s great to see. So, I started getting my hair cut at the barber and having a chat with him and just trying to support everyone there. And since I’ve retired, I’ve just let the hair go.


Graham: [00:53:43] [crosstalk] -many haircuts. Don’t need to be short back and sides anymore.


Dan: [00:53:48] Graham, before we wrap up, you told us before we started recording that you run a consulting agency. Would you like to let listeners in Australia know what it is and how they can reach you?

Graham: [00:53:58] Yeah. It’s Peregrine Consultancy, as in the bird. And yeah, the website’s up, still some building to do, but we offer a range of services, whether it’s fire investigation, a lot of livestock theft up in the northeast, which can be very expensive when heads of cattle go missing. Also finding people that don’t want to be found. That’s a nice little niche market.

Yeardley: [00:54:21] Congratulations.

Graham: [00:54:23] Thank you.

Yeardley: [00:54:23] Thank you so much for bringing us that case. That’s a job well done. It’s so great.

Dave: [00:54:29] It’s good work, y’all.

Dan: [00:54:30] Really good work.

Graham: [00:54:31] Thanks, guys.


Yeardley: [00:54:41] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.

Dan: [00:55:10] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at

Yeardley: [00:55:17] Small Town Dicks would like to thank SpeechDocs for providing transcripts of this podcast. You can find these transcripts on our episode page at And for more information about SpeechDocs and their service, please go to

Dan: [00:55:34] And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @smalltowndicks, we love hearing from you.

Dave: [00:55:42] And if you support us on Patreon, your subscription will give you access to exclusive content and merchandise that isn’t available anywhere else. Go to

Yeardley: [00:55:54] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-

Dan: [00:56:00] -in search of the finest,-

Dave: [00:56:02] -rare, true crime cases told-

Dan: [00:56:04] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.

Dave: [00:56:08] So, thanks for listening small town fam.

Yeardley: [00:56:10] Nobody’s better than you.

[music fades away]