Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Ballarat Bandit

The Ballarat Bandit was a mystery man hunted throughout the Nevada desert by County and State Police, but continually frustrated the authorities by always being one step ahead of his pursuers.  The name was coined by somebody on the internet, as numerous surfers were following developments on the web news.  No matter how close they were to him, he had vanished when they hit his hideouts..

    He was sustaining himself by stealing from vehicles parked up on roads.  He also raided small shacks, and always found enough to keep him going.  For some time, he had managed to steal a quad bike and was able to cover large areas of the desert.  One day, he was seen by four men on a vacation and going through part of the desert.  They were LAPD men.  They spotted a rifle and thought something was not right, so one took a snapshot and later sent the photo to the local Police, just in case.  This was the only picture they had of the suspect, though you could not see him clearly.

    Opinions varied as to just who he was.  Some of the camps he had set up, had protective positions around them, where he could open fire and remain concealed.  This brought up the theory that he was ex-military.  Another was that he could have been a spy, as the desert was home to a number of military installations.  He was a man constantly on the move.  One day, two troopers latched onto him, and gave chase on foot across the desert.  However, he was far too quick for them, and ran up a hill like a sprinter, causing them to completely lose him.  

    However, his luck ran out, when a camp was spotted, and numerous Law Enforcement people moved in on him.  Suddenly, a shot rang out, and the body of the bandit was found in a tent.  Now began the task of identifying him.  His fingerprints were distributed to all Police agencies throughout the country, but months dragged by with nothing.  They decided to expand the search to Canada, and there his identity was established.  The Ballarat Bandit was none other than George Johnson, a husband and father.  His family said that he went off and they had no idea where he was.  It seemed that he wanted space or time to himself.  He made his way from Canada into the States and eventually drifted into Nevada.  He had only committed minor crimes, but what worried the Police was the rifle he always carried, and could he have been capable of gunning anybody in his way, down.

    Why he had to take his own life was a mystery.  He would not have faced serious charges, but perhaps he enjoyed his freedom in the desert too much and the prospect of being incarcerated was too much for him.