Caroline Springs: Car crime hits hard at weekends

A spate of thefts from cars has swept across Caroline Springs with thieves targeting more than 30 cars in just 30 days.

Offenders are breaking into cars parked in the driveway and on the streets, mainly at weekends, to “steal whatever they can”, Melton police’s Senior Constable Donna Coutts has warned.

“The offenders are smashing windows to break in and steal whatever they can, but a lot of the stuff they’re taking is tradie tools.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Jenks, of the Melton crime investigation unit, urged drivers to park in a safe place, to conceal tools from view and remove the most valuable items from their cars.

“Unfortunately, some local residents continue to leave valuable items in vehicles parked in vulnerable locations,” he said.

“Tradesmen find it too time consuming to remove all of their tools from their vehicle every evening.”

Last Monday, six cars were broken into at Caroline Springs, Taylors Hill and Burnside Heights.

Police discovered three of the cars, which had power tools, sunglasses and a garage remote stolen, had been left unlocked overnight.

Offenders are also stealing numberplates to commit crime, Detective Senior Sergeant Jenks warned.

Last Wednesday, a 24-year-old Melton man was intercepted while driving a vehicle displaying stolen numberplates. He has been charged with theft and will appear in court at a later date.

But police believe the number of thefts from cars is much higher, with many such crimes going unreported.

Senior Constable Coutts said most victims were unaware their cars had been targeted until they woke up to find smashed windows.

“Sometimes [the offenders] will target utilities, but they’re generally targeting normal, personal-use cars.”

The offenders are generally young men, sometimes as young as 14 or 15, but Detective Senior Sergeant Jenks didn’t believe they were involved with “groups, gangs or organised crime”.

“It’s opportunistic,” he said. “They’re generally single thieves who plan to break into cars before they go out.”

The recent spike isn’t isolated to Melton or the time of year, Detective Senior Sergeant Jenks said.

He urged residents to take extra caution.