Cop reveals bizarre attempt to frame him for bank robbery

ON a hot Queensland day in the early 1990s, a balaclava-clad bandit steps into a bank on Brisbane's bayside.

He fronts the counter and slides a crushed piece of paper across to the teller.

The writing scribbled on the note asserts: "I have a gun. This is a hold-up. Fill my bag up. My name is Ben Hanbidge."

Most of what was written on that note about the heist turned out to be true - but the person the robber tried to frame for the terrifying hold-up was in fact a young detective from Brisbane's Capalaba Criminal Investigation Branch, who would go on to become one of the Gold Coast's most senior police officers.

Superintendent Ben Hanbidge, at Surfers Paradise Police HQ. He retires on Monday December 7 after 45 years with the Queensland Police Service. Picture: Glenn Hampson.
Superintendent Ben Hanbidge, at Surfers Paradise Police HQ. He retires on Monday December 7 after 45 years with the Queensland Police Service. Picture: Glenn Hampson.

"I got the job to go down there and investigate this stick-up and he'd left the note there with the bank teller and his fingerprints on it too, I might add, and he's tried to blame me as the offender. As it turned out, I'd arrested him for something else, so he certainly had a dislike for me," Supt Hanbidge said.

 

 

More than 45 years since one of the city's top cops first started sending men like the Capalaba bank bandit to jail, he will on Monday retire from the Queensland Police Service.

Joining the job as a 15-year-old police cadet in 1976, Supt. Hanbidge thought he'd found a way to get paid to finish high school.

But once he was on the beat, Supt. Hanbidge didn't look back.

Ben Hanbdige in 2007 as Detective Inspector in Brisbane after a man was charged with murder following the discovery of a body near the Albert Street entrance to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Picture: Tim Marsden.
Ben Hanbdige in 2007 as Detective Inspector in Brisbane after a man was charged with murder following the discovery of a body near the Albert Street entrance to the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Picture: Tim Marsden.

He worked his early years in Brisbane before later becoming the top Sunshine Coast cop.

The officer took on counter-terror roles and ran covert operations at the drug and fraud squads that were so successful criminal targets fell in love with undercover detectives and named newborn babies after policemen. They had no idea Supt. Hanbidge had sent them out on stings.

Supt. Hanbidge ends his career as one of the Gold Coast's most senior officers, who has overseen almost all areas of crime on the Glitter Strip.

June 2003: Supt. Hanbidge at a warehouse squat in Quay St, Milton, Brisbane, where a 19-year-old New Zealand backpacker was bashed, tied up and tortured. Picture: Annette Dew.
June 2003: Supt. Hanbidge at a warehouse squat in Quay St, Milton, Brisbane, where a 19-year-old New Zealand backpacker was bashed, tied up and tortured. Picture: Annette Dew.

He says the area is one of the most "dynamic" locations in the state, but is fertile ground for fraudsters and criminals because of population ebb and flow.

"Whether it's international tourists or other tourism, the Gold Coast does become a target-rich environment for crooks," Supt. Hanbidge said, adding that many criminals travel from Logan and Ipswich to cause havoc on the Glitter Strip.

Ben Hanbidge in 2000 as Acting Inspector. Pictured at Rocklea in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner.
Ben Hanbidge in 2000 as Acting Inspector. Pictured at Rocklea in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner.

After being required to learn to touch-type on a manual typewriter before he could graduate from the Police Academy in the late 1970s, the senior officer says technology has not only enhanced the way police solve crime today, but also helped the people commit it.

"One of the biggest issues that are really evolving now is that crooks can't hot wire a car, so they break into the house and steal the keys, or they car jack somebody who might be stopped at a red light somewhere," Supt. Hanbidge said.

"We are seeing that more and more. Just the other night, there was one street down in Miami where at three in the morning four houses in a row were broken into all to steal the keys out of the houses while people are inside sleeping before they stole the cars out to the driveway."

President of the United States of America Barack Obama in his motorcade during the G20. Picture: Peter Wallis.
President of the United States of America Barack Obama in his motorcade during the G20. Picture: Peter Wallis.

Across the past 45 years, Supt. Hanbidge has been involved in some of the most high-profile policing matters in the state - including keeping Barack Obama safe when was staying in Queensland during G20, where the former US president's security team ordered the stripping of an entire floor of the Marriott Hotel and investigated installing their own wiring.

Janet Phillips murder scene on Gateway Arterial Rd. Pictured in 1987. Picture: News Corp Australia file image.
Janet Phillips murder scene on Gateway Arterial Rd. Pictured in 1987. Picture: News Corp Australia file image.

He also helped to jail serial rapist and murderer Lloyd Clark Fletcher, who in 1987 murdered Queensland schoolgirl Janet Phillips, 15, on her way home from a 21st birthday party.

Her body was found in a drain by the Gateway Arterial Rd at Chandler in Brisbane.

Lloyd Clark Fletcher was sentenced to an indefinite prison term in 1998 for the murder of teenager Janet Phillips (pictured). Picture: News Corp Australia file image.
Lloyd Clark Fletcher was sentenced to an indefinite prison term in 1998 for the murder of teenager Janet Phillips (pictured). Picture: News Corp Australia file image.

Supt. Hanbidge's will finish up in the job on his 60th birthday, which is the mandatory retirement age for most Queensland police officers.

"I can honestly say there wouldn't be one day where I haven't enjoyed coming to work," Supt Hanbidge said.

 

 

 

Originally published as Coast cop reveals bizarre attempt to frame him for bank robbery


Reds to Regions tour hits Mackay Whitsundays

Premium Content Reds to Regions tour hits Mackay Whitsundays

When and where you can get in on the meet and greet with Queensland Reds stars

Reef health project hits final stages in Whitsundays

Premium Content Reef health project hits final stages in Whitsundays

The two-year project has now entered the final quarter but already some interesting...

Winterbourn, Whitney claim top spots in stableford

Premium Content Winterbourn, Whitney claim top spots in stableford

Check out the latest results from Proserpine Golf Club.