15 arrested as part of Operation Liege crackdown on youth crime

Police have arrested 15 youths this week as part of Operation Liege to crack down on cross-border youth and high harm offending.

Detectives from Yarra, Darebin, Melton and Shepparton Crime Investigation Units have worked hard to identify and locate persons of interest in relation to more than 20 incidents that have occurred in the north-western suburbs and Shepparton area this year.

This includes serious offences such as home invasion, aggravate burglary, assault, armed robbery, robbery, theft of motor vehicles and theft from retail premises.

Twelve males and three females have been arrested and more than 50 charges have been laid for offences including home invasion, aggravated burglary, robbery, shop steal, assault and vehicle crime linked to serious offending.

Those charged are aged between 14 and 21-years-old. Among those charged by police this week are:

• A 14-year-old Shepparton male has been charged with 21 offences including home invasion, multiple counts of aggravated burglary, armed robbery, robbery, multiple counts of theft of motor vehicle, theft and other traffic-related offences. He has been remanded to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

• A 17-year-old Airport West male has been charged with 14 offences including home invasion, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, robbery, assault and theft of motor vehicle. He has been remanded to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

• A 16-year-old Preston male has been charged with eight offences including home invasion, armed robbery and theft of motor vehicle. He has been remanded to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

Operation Liege is an ongoing state-wide investigative and enforcement capability that links regional investigators with real-time intelligence to better identify incidents involving networked youths offending anywhere in Victoria.

North West Metro Region Commander Tim Hansen said police right across the state were working hard every day to keep the community safe by holding offenders to account and prevent youth-related crime.

“Make no mistake, we are utilising all available resources to hold people to account and put a stop to this offending,” Cmdr Hansen said.

“Our message to those committing these offences is clear – police will find you, we will hold you to account and we will ensure you do not continue to inflict harm on the Victorian community.”

A number of the youths arrested this week have been charged in relation to alleged alcohol thefts from retail outlets in Shepparton and Melton between January and March this year.

They include two 17-year-old Melton West females charged with theft following alleged incidents in Melton on 2 and 3 March. They have been bailed to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

“Police have previously identified a trend whereby youths have stolen alcohol from retail outlets in the lead up to long weekends and stockpiling it for use at short-term rental parties,” Cmdr Hansen said.

“Concerningly, this contributed to the commission of serious offending and escalating violence associated with anti-social behaviour and public order issues.”

“We know excessive drinking and use of illicit drugs can lead to serious and devastating consequences, including violent crime, serious assaults, anti-social behaviour and road trauma.

“As police our job is to protect and serve the community and we will not stand for this type of behaviour. That is why we have been working around the clock to put a stop to this offending and hold people to account.”

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