Armed robbers terrorise Greek Vietnam vet and family

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A Greek Australian man is warning fellow business owners to have proper safety procedures in place after he and his family were terrorized by four armed burglars in his Ballarat home. James Frangos, owner of Frangos & Frangos cafe in Daylesford, was celebrating at home with his wife, children and grandchildren earlier last month when four men wearing balaclavas broke into his home. Mr Frangos, who was upstairs at the time, ran downstairs when he heard his daughter screaming. The men came in through the back door of the house, which is on a two acre property with remote controlled security gates, and rammed Mr Frango’s wife, daughters and son-in-law onto the living room couches, threatening them with shotguns and a pistol. “I made some attempt to grab one of these blokes and as I did I got hit on the back of the shoulders with an iron bar, then I got up and saw four armed men, all had iron bars, one bloke had a knife,” Mr Frangos, a Vietnam veteran now in his 60s, told Neos Kosmos. “I took control. I’ve always had a set system for my business, if anybody approaches any of my staff the policy is you give them what they ask for, absolutely everything, that’s the basic policy,” he said. However, when the armed robbers demanded an exorbitant amount of cash, gold and diamonds from Mr Frangos said he could not give them what they wanted. The intruders kept Mr Frangos and his family hostage for one and a half hours, as they rummaged through every drawer and cupboard of the house, upturning furniture, smashing things and creating chaos in their wake. They stole cash, most of the women’s jewellery, including family heirlooms, clothing and household items.Mr Frangos pleaded with the intruders not to disturb his daughter Bianca, who has Down Syndrome, and his three grandchildren, aged 11 months, two and three years, who were upstairs asleep. But the intruders still searched the bedrooms and under mattresses that the children were sleeping on. “They told me they’d followed me for two or three days and said they knew I had the day’s takings from the restaurant, so they’d been casing the joint,” Mr Frangos said, adding “they knew I wore Armani suits and were looking for them”. Eventually the men locked Mr Frangos and his family members into an upstairs bedroom before fleeing the scene. Mr Frangos, who is an artist and businessman, has since had an operation and hasn’t been back to work since the incident. “It’s been an absolute traumatic experience; the consequences are horrendous,” he said. “The trauma has been terrible for our daughter and the rest of our children. We can’t watch television downstairs now because we don’t have curtains, and we no longer feel safe. They’ve forced us to maybe move, but we don’t know where we would go.”Mr Frangos said he and his family are just trying to get on with their lives. Mr Frangos predicted the intruders, yet to be caught, were aged between 25 to 30 years. “They weren’t scared at all. I fought in Vietnam and that’s how they teach you to run into a room and create chaos and scare people into responding; they knew what they were doing and knew what to find; they made a hell of a mess,” Mr Frangos said. The Ballarat man said this was a warning that every shopkeeper should be aware. “It’s important that proper procedures are followed and you have plans for if you’re put in the situation; thank God we weren’t killed.”Police said this has never happened in Ballarat before. “If it happens here it can happen anywhere. They’re out there looking, watching, asking, swapping information, you need to be prepared,” Mr Frangos said.last_img read more