Thieves hit three sites

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey

Co­bram has again been a hotspot for bur­glars, with three lo­ca­tions tar­geted early Wed­nes­day last week.

Po­lice be­lieve the crimes were com­mit­ted by two of­fend­ers in what ap­peared to be a co-or­di­nated at­tack.

The Unit­ing Church op shop was bro­ken into about 1 am, with the of­fend­ers ran­sack­ing the prop­erty be­fore us­ing a fire ex­tin­guisher in­side, caus­ing con­sid­er­able dam­age.

Noth­ing was stolen from the premises, ac­cord­ing to Co­bram Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit.

From there, the of­fend­ers al­legedly tar­geted Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories, smash­ing the front win­dow about 2.15 am with an un­known tool to gain ac­cess.

‘‘The of­fend­ers com­pletely ran­sacked the store, smash­ing glass cab­i­nets, pulling prod­ucts off dis­play cab­i­nets — caus­ing a lot of dam­age to stock and fix­tures,’’ Co­bram CIU Se­nior Con­sta­ble Ja­cob Sin­clair said.

Af­ter leav­ing be­hind a trail of de­struc­tion, po­lice be­lieve the per­pe­tra­tors moved to the Co­bram Foot­ball Club about 5 am.

‘‘Once there they re­moved the lever win­dows, got in­side and smashed the two glass doors of the re­frig­er­a­tor and stole al­co­hol,’’ Sen Const Sin­clair said.

‘‘The fridge was locked with a pad­lock but they picked up a stool and smashed the glass doors with it, steal­ing mixed spir­its and beer, and they also kicked-in a cou­ple of doors be­fore leav­ing,’’ he said.

Sen Const Sin­clair said at this stage no ar­rests have been made, with CIU con­tin­u­ing to in­ves­ti­gate.

He said it ap­peared a pat­tern had emerged in terms of the type of premises tar­geted.

‘‘I think they’re just pick­ing places that are easy tar­gets and that are in se­cluded ar­eas like the Unit­ing Church op shop and Co­bram Foot­ball Club,’’ Sen Const Sin­clair said.

‘‘I think it’s just op­por­tunis­tic of­fend­ers pick­ing soft tar­gets to get some cash and al­co­hol.’’

Sen Const Sin­clair said while he un­der­stood se­cu­rity mea­sures could be ex­pen­sive, they could pre­vent in­ci­dents like these.

‘‘CCTV def­i­nitely helps. I’d also en­cour­age busi­nesses to for­tify their shops a bit more,’’ he said.

‘‘These of­fend­ers have stepped up from us­ing tools to get in­side to smash­ing glass win­dows. I’d rec­om­mend things like shut­ters or se­cu­rity screens.’’

The op shop was re­cently tar­geted, with a youth, 14, ar­rested and charged.

This is also the sec­ond time Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories has been bro­ken into, af­ter a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 19.

Po­lice be­lieve ear­lier at­tacks could be re­lated.

Sec­ond at­tack: The front of Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories af­ter the break-in.

Can you help? The al­leged of­fend­ers cap­tured by CCTV dur­ing the Wed­nes­day morn­ing crime spree. Any­body with in­for­ma­tion is urged to con­tact Co­bram po­lice.

Al­leged of­fender: The per­pe­tra­tor at Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 19.

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