Drama's a buzz in telemovie

From left, Josh Quong Tart, Todd Lasance, Shane Bourne, Grant Bowler and John Batchelor star in the telemovie The Great Mint Swindle.
From left, Josh Quong Tart, Todd Lasance, Shane Bourne, Grant Bowler and John Batchelor star in the telemovie The Great Mint Swindle. Contributed- Tony McDonough, Channel 9

IT WAS one of Australia's most sensational crimes, and remains one of the country's biggest unsolved mysteries to this day.

The 1982 Perth Mint swindle saw 49 gold bars, worth more than $650,000 at the time, disappear from the supposedly secure facility.

Police were quick to hone in on Vietnam veteran Ray Mickelberg, who was on their radar after manufacturing a large fake gold nugget, and his younger brothers Brian and Peter.

But what was supposed to be an open-and-shut case turned into a dramatic 20-year saga of lies, police corruption, tragedy and redemption.

Channel Nine's new telemovie, The Great Mint Swindle, portrays the entire drama from the daring robbery to the trial to the Mickelbergs' eventual exoneration.

Also starring in the telemovie are Crownies star Todd Lasance as Peter Mickelberg, Grant Bowler as Ray Mickelberg and former Home and Away star Josh Quong Tart as Brian Mickelberg.

The Great Mint Swindle - Nine - Sunday at 8.30pm.


My story- The Great Teen Power Inc Swindle

ONE of the greatest thefts in Australia was the Perth Mint Swindle where 49 gold bars where stolen from the Perth Mint in the '80s.

It has now been immortalised in Nine's drama The Great Mint Swindle airing this Sunday night.

My career as a thief was short-lived.

My first dalliance into the world of petty crime came when I was nine.

As a youngster I attended a book club at the local book shop.

I was a nerdy criminal I suppose.

I was engrossed in a particular tween mystery series, Teen Power Inc.

I devoured these like Biggest Loser's Hamish eating chocolates at temptation.

I was an addict, I couldn't get enough and I needed my next fix.

The problem; the small amount of pocket I earned making my bed and unloading the dishwasher had been exhausted on buying the last book and feeding my other addiction, Beanie Babies.

But I had to have this book, I needed this book, I deserved this book.

It was all I could think about during maths class, it consumed my thoughts as I swum laps at squads and I pondered how I could get this book as my family chattered at dinner time.

There seemed to be only one possible answer.

One night when my mother was in the shower and my brother and Dad were watching TV I snuck into Mum's handbag, opened her wallet and removed $20, my heart palpitating in rhythmic time to churns and beeps of the dishwasher and ticking of the clock hanging on the kitchen wall.

I crunched the note up in my hand and snuck of to my room with my stolen prize.

That night I lay awake wracked with guilt. I tossed and turned, turned and tossed, but I could not shake the guilt.

It clung to me like damp and oppressive odour.

I walked to the shops, the guilt following behind me like puppy tailoring its owner.

The money felt hot in my pocket.

As each person passed me by I felt a guilty expression form on my face.

I was sure they could tell I was about to buy goods with stolen funds.

In the bookshop I took my purchase to the counter and furtively handed over the money, glancing behind me like I was a fugitive trying to escape the country.

Later when I sat down to read the book, it felt slimy and dirty in my hands.

My heart hammered with guilt.

I had to come clean.

I burst into tears upon confessing my sins to my Mum.

And so ended my career of crime.

Topics:  channel 9 telemovie tv show

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