Geelong Police are continuing to put the brakes on opportunistic home and car thieves, with a number of alleged offenders recently arrested.
Members from the Tasking & Crime Intervention Team (TACIT) arrested two men earlier this week in relation to a pair of aggravated burglaries in Lovely Banks and Highton in the early hours of Monday morning.
It is alleged a set of car keys found inside the home’s garage were taken before both offenders fled the scene in a stolen car.
Later in the same morning, it is alleged the same offenders gained access to another home via an unlocked door and stole a wallet and set of car keys before fleeing.
A 19-year-old male from Corio and 18-year-old male from Norlane were arrested in connection to these incidents and charged with a range of offences including aggravated burglary, theft of motor vehicle and driving while disqualified.
The 19-year-old male was remanded into custody and will reappear in the Geelong Magistrates Court at a later date. The 18-year-old was initially remanded but bailed the next day to appear at the Geelong Magistrates Court at a later date.
This week, Geelong police units including the Tasking and Crime Intervention Taskforce, the Torquay Criminal Investigation Unit and uniform officers also arrested an 18-year-old-man from Anglesea this week.
He was charged with 31 burglaries and theft related offences from unoccupied holiday homes where he allegedly stole cash, electrical items and alcohol. He was remanded into custody to appear at the Geelong Magistrates Court at a later date.
Inspector Paul Edebone said local police had observed an increase in the number of aggravated burglaries and car thefts occurring in the Geelong Police Service Area in recent times.
“While the vast majority of the community are staying home as much as possible in the interest of public health, this has not stopped opportunistic home and car thieves who have used this time to offend.
“However, we want to reassure the community that local police are working hard to arrest offenders and hold them to account.
“We understand the community’s concern regarding home burglaries, and we know it can be a traumatic experience for anyone who is a victim of this crime which is why we are committed to arresting offenders and putting them before the courts.
“Home burglaries are often opportunistic; with thieves trying to enter homes without being detected and avoiding confrontation.
“They’ll often do this by trying to enter through any unlocked doors and windows in your home.
“We know that some offenders are doing this with the motivation of obtaining keys in order to steal a car, which is what we saw occur in Lovely Banks and Highton early Monday morning.
“During the current situation we are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic, we know that people are spending a lot more time in their homes.
“While most people in our community are doing the right thing, we know there are a small number who will use this time to commit offences such as burglaries and vehicle-related crime.
“We want to remind the community that this is not the time to become complacent about home or vehicle security.
Police will continue to work hard to prevent and detect this type of offending but there are a number of simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of vehicle-related theft:
• Always store car keys out of view and away from external doors and windows.
• Make sure you have your keys with you at all times. This includes times when you are out and you’ve left your car at home.
• When you are out do not leave car keys unattended in bags, lockers etc.
• Don’t tag your car keys with your name or address. Use a mobile phone number instead.
• Never leave a spare set of house keys or car keys in your car.
Make sure your home is secured so that thieves can’t steal your car keys. This includes:
• Installing good quality locks on doors and windows.
• Lock all windows and doors, even when you’re at home – unlocked side and rear doors are the most common entry points for burglars.
• Remove valuable items from plain sight – particularly car keys, wallets, electronic devices and cash.
If you need immediate police assistance always call Triple Zero (000). Report any suspicious behaviour to your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.