Police arrest three over $70k commercial burglaries in regional Victoria

Western Region Crime Squad detectives have arrested three people in relation to a series of targeted commercial burglaries in regional Victoria last month.

Police allege a group of offenders broke in to 13 small businesses between 5 September and 28 September, stealing or attempting to steal ATMs and safes using cutting equipment. It’s alleged the group stole a total of around $70,000.

The investigation related to the theft of an ATM from a general store in Eynesbury and a standalone ATM in Hillside. The same group also allegedly made several other attempts to steal ATMs from businesses at Woodend, Riddells Creek, Romsey and Cobblebank, causing considerable damage to properties.

Businesses in Romsey, Weir Views, Riddells Creek, Lara and Hillside allegedly had nearby broadband cables cut prior to burglaries or attempted burglaries, causing approximately $250,000 worth of damage to telecommunication lines.

On Friday 1 October, police executed three search warrants in Melton and Melton South resulting in the arrest of three people.

• A 28-year-old man from Melton South was charged with multiple offences including 11 counts of burglary, nine counts of theft, 19 counts of criminal damage and commit offence whilst on bail. He was remanded to face the Geelong Magistrate’s Court on 11 January.

• A 45-year-old man from Melton was charged with multiple offences including 10 counts of burglary, 9 counts of theft, 18 counts of criminal damage, possess steroids and possess cannabis. He was remanded to face the Geelong Magistrate’s Court on 11 January.

• A 29-year-old woman from Melton South was charged with eight offences including burglary and theft. She was bailed to face court at a later date.

Quotes attributed to Western Region Crime Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Matthew Kershaw:

“These burglaries were brazen and low acts, which have not only caused considerable damage to small businesses, but extensive damage to Telco company data lines.”

“”These are serious and concerning offences and police will go to great lengths to catch anyone who threatens the livelihoods of small business owners.”

“Small towns may be quiet as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, but that certainly hasn’t stopped police from keeping a close eye on criminal activity.”

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