A homeless man at the centre of a headline-grabbing dog rescue at Nowra is wanted by police for a variety of crimes, including violent offences.
Victorian police declared Charles Griffith a wanted man on July 1, 2014, following an investigation into stalking and assault-related offences.
Sixteen months later, the rough-living fugitive took time out from life on the run to take part in a live interview on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program, Monday morning.
He addressed “Kochy” and thanked the animal welfare groups that had supported the dog’s heartwarming rescue, all the while giving away no clues to his alleged criminal past.
Victoria Police released a photo of the then-38-year-old in July, 2014, and called publicly for his whereabouts, but he proved elusive.
Investigators believed him to frequent the Horsham and Warrnambool areas at the time.
Victorian police will not comment on the circumstances that led to Griffith becoming a wanted man.
The Mercury understands the stalking charge relates to Griffith’s contact with the family of a former partner.
The family provided a statement to police, alleging Griffith telephoned them up to 36 times a day as the relationship broke down.
They alleged the calls were abusive and threatening, and included reference to a teenage girl.
A man with knowledge of the circumstances of Griffith’s offending told the Mercury: “he's a wiley character. He preys on the vulnerable”.
Victoria Police confirmed Griffith remained a wanted man, but would otherwise not comment.
Griffith fronted the cameras as Charlie Griffith three days after his dog Brooklyn was rescued from a labrynth-like wombat hole, near the place he pitched his tent at Nowra Showground.
Dozens of shovel-wielding residents pulled off the against-the-odds rescue after a pricey three-day operation by emergency services failed.
Griffith’s reunion with the hefty American bulldog made national headlines and prompted a groundswell of goodwill, including a fundraising drive in his honour.
The gofundme.com campaign raised more than $3500 by late Saturday afternoon.
On camera, Griffith said he planned to meet fundraiser organisers on Monday to discuss the funds. The page has since been taken down.
Among the feelgood messages posted to social media in the wake of Monday’s breakfast TV showing, some talk turned to Griffith’s criminal past.
Nowra Police have refused to comment on the issue.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said officers were liaising with their counterparts at Victorian Police in relation to the matter.