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Cold case: Giovanni Arena

Learn about the murder of Giovanni Arena and assist Victoria Police with any information you may have to help solve the case.

  • At approximately 4.30pm on the 24th of May 1984, Giovanni Arena’s body was found by his son, in the family home in O’Hea’s Street, Coburg.

    Giovanni had been shot whilst he slept.

    He was fifty years old at the time of his death and was a loving husband and father of three children, aged 20, 17 and 8 years old.

    He worked hard to provide for his family at Crosta D’oro Hot Bread, as well as building his dream home in Pascoe Vale, before his life was horribly cut short in a cowardly act of violence. Investigators have not been able to establish any motive for his murder.

    Giovanni had worked overnight at the bakery, on 656 High Street, Thornbury before finishing his shift at 11.30am.

    He then drove to Surrey Street, Pascoe Vale in his White Ford Cortina sedan, to inspect the new home he was building for his family.

    A neighbour witnessed Giovanni at this location at 11.45am, which would ultimately be the last time anyone saw him alive.

    Giovanni’s workday routine was to arrive home from work, and eat lunch before sleeping until 3pm, when his wife would then ring to wake him up to collect their young son from school.

    On this day, at the end of the school day, his 8-year-old son went looking for him under the old oak tree where his father always waited, but Giovanni wasn’t there.

    Concerned that she was unable to reach her husband on the phone, Giovanni’s wife asked one of their elder children to check on their father, and at approximately 4.30pm, the grim discovery was made.

    Despite extensive and thorough investigation, the person who violently attacked and killed Giovanni, is yet to be brought to justice.

    We ask that you review this case and all the available details, and for anyone that has any information about the person responsible for this brutal crime to please come forward and contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

    In particular, investigators ask that you cast your mind back to the 24th of May 1984, particularly if you were in the area of O’Heas Street, Coburg or Surrey Street, Pascoe Vale and observed anything suspicious or recall seeing Giovanni’s White Ford Cortina sedan.

    Also, if you saw anything suspicious in either Fraser, Rolland, Sutherland or Murray Streets, which border the rear access lane to his home.

    37 years ago, the hopes and dreams of the Arena family were stolen from them.

    Giovanni was well respected and loved by everyone who knew him. He had emigrated to Australia in 1959 with a dream of making a better life, with all the best opportunities for his family.

    He loved spending time with his children, tinkering in his workshop, hunting for rabbits, gardening, listening to Italian music and working on his pride and joy, the family Ford Cortina.

    I’m asking for your help in the hopes that we can move forward in our investigation into Giovanni Arena’s murder and provide justice and closure for his family.

Homicide Squad detectives are continuing to appeal for information in relation to the 1984 murder of Coburg man Giovanni Arena.

Giovanni had worked overnight at the family’s Crosta d’Oro Hot Bread shop on the corner of High and Clarendon Streets in Thornbury, before leaving at 11.30am on the morning of 24 May, 1984.

He then drove to Surrey Street, Pascoe Vale in his white Ford Cortina sedan to inspect the new home he was building.

Giovanni was seen at this location by a neighbour at 11.45am and this is the last time he was seen alive.

Giovanni’s workday routine was to eat lunch before sleeping until 3pm, when his wife would ring to wake him up, and he would then collect their youngest son from school.

On 24 May, Giovanni’s wife realised something was wrong when he did not answer his 3pm phone call as usual.

Giovanni was supposed to collect his 8-year-old son from school, but he never arrived.

Approximately 4.30pm that day, Giovanni was found deceased by his eldest son and a friend in the family home on O’Heas Street, Coburg.

Police believe he had been shot whilst he slept.

Giovanni was only 50-years-old at the time of his death.

He was described as a loving husband and father of three children aged 20, 17 and 8, who worked hard to provide for his family while building their dream home in Pascoe Vale.

Despite an extensive and thorough investigation, the person who violently attacked and killed Giovanni in his own home is yet to be brought to justice.

Investigators have not been able to establish any reason for his murder.

The Arena family has now lived without Giovanni for 37 years and it could be your information that allows detectives to move forward in this investigation into his murder and provide justice for Giovanni and closure for his family.

Detectives are urging anyone with information about the person responsible for this brutal crime to please come forward.

In particular, investigators are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of O’Heas Street, Coburg or Surrey Street, Pascoe Vale on 24 May, 1984 and observed anything suspicious or recall seeing Giovanni’s white Ford Cortina sedan.

Police are also keen to speak to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in either Fraser, Rolland, Sutherland or Murray Streets, which border the rear access lane to the Arena’s family home.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report via the Crime Stoppers Victoria website.External Link

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Reviewed 28 October 2021

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