Thousands lost in Ocean Grove tool heists

February 20, 2020 BY

Ocean Grove's Stringybark Place, where the thefts took place. Photo: JESSICA NICOL

TWO separate thefts in Ocean Grove on February 12, have left tradies down around $7,000 worth of tools and local police urging people report suspicious activity.

Local tradie Jake Pownall woke to find over $5,000 worth of equipment taken from inside his locked trailer in Stringybark Place, while a neighbouring property had about $2,000 worth of tools taken from cars.

“I had a lot of my tools taken from my locked trailer inside my front fence, I predict a total of close to $5,000 worth of power/battery tools and specialist metal fabrication folding tools,” Mr Pownall said.

“Being a single, small business owner, this puts a lot of stress on top of our workload, having to put out thousands just to be able to keep trading until insurance (hopefully) gets processed.”

Sergeant Shane Connolly said they received reports of suspects accessing a locked trailer, behind a gate in Stringybark Place, and two cars parked in a neighbouring driveway.

“The thieves have stolen an assortment of tools including drills and drill pieces, Milwaukee batteries and drill bits,” Sgt Connolly said.

“They’ve also accessed two cars parked in a driveway of a neighbouring property we don’t know if the cars were locked. We suspect the person/s must have had a vehicle because of the amount that was taken between 4.30-5am.”

“At this stage we’re still tracking down other CCTV in the area. In instances like this, we encourage the community to ring through and report any
suspicious activity.

“There’s a new number (13 14 44), it’s not a waste of time for us, especially in relation to theft or attempted theft. They ring through and jobs are then forwarded through to us to investigate. If people don’t report suspicious activity, we don’t know about it.”

Sgt Connolly said the information helps police widen the area where suspects have been, with many regularly operating in the same area.

“Through avenues of inquiry, you can identify evidence: CCTV footage, fingerprints, other witnesses and areas where suspects have worked or are located.

“The more evidence we get the more availability it gives us to look at the circumstantial and similar fact evidence. It helps us work out where they’re operating, where they’re going and what they’re doing.”

Sgt Connolly said information did not always lead to an arrest on the day but helped police work out the offenders, a process recently used during major
graffiti arrests.

“With the assistance of the City of Greater Geelong and information supplied to Crime Stoppers by members of the public and local business, we’ve been able to identify, interview and arrest offenders in the Leopold, Ocean Grove, Portarlington and Drysdale areas.

“The graffiti offenders range from youths to adults both male and female.

“The information reported to us allowed us to collate the graffiti (different colours and styles). When we got the information on the suspect, we were able to barrel it and roll it into one, leading to
the arrests.

“Information is really important in assisting police. The community should report any disturbances or attempted break ins because there may be relevant information.”

Bellarine Police encourage members with information to report to their local police stations, Crime Stoppers or phone 13 14 44.

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