Arrest ends pursuit
A spate of car thefts, petrol drive-offs and pursuits over the past week has angered local police who are concerned about public safety.
The community has been put at risk too many times over the past week, according to Warragul Police senior sergeant Duncan Bartley who is alarmed at the extreme behaviour of offenders. “We need people to lock their cars. “Stolen cars in pursuits have become very dangerous for the community and for us.
“People have to be mindful there are others on the road, so it may not always be safe to go through a green light or an intersection.
“These individuals have total disregard for their own safety let alone others. They go through red lights whether police are involved or not,” Sen Sgt Bartley said.
The warning came after a series of car thefts and pursuits in the Trafalgar and Warragul areas, that were abandoned by police because of the risk to community members.
The issue escalated yesterday morning when Baw Baw detectives were forced to abandon a pursuit in Warragul. Air wing and police from Baw Baw and South Gippsland were involved in the hunt for Drouin man Jesse Proctor who was later arrested in the Alberton area.
The Warragul incident just before 8.30am yesterday was the first of a series of events including a carjacking at Leongatha.
Detectives responded to a petrol drive-off in a stolen vehicle at the BP service station in Brandy Creek Rd, Warragul yesterday morning.
A silver Holden Captiva was pursued by police, travelling south along Brandy Creek Rd. Police were forced to abandon the pursuit when the vehicle allegedly reached high speeds and was travelling on the wrong side of the road.
The vehicle was south bound towards the central business district.
Police later issued an alert after a stolen vehicle was crashed and caught alight in McCartin St, Leongatha at 10.35am.
It is alleged he then stopped a female motorist and assaulted them before stealing their car. Police said he dumped the car and stole a third vehicle from a farm property and was travelling in the Hedley area.
Police arrested Mr Proctor on foot at about 1pm.
Latrobe Police last week issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr Proctor, 21 of Church St, Drouin in relation to outstanding warrants for thefts of cars.
Police are also investigating a series of thefts and pursuits in West Gippsland over recent weeks.
A Toyota Landcruiser stolen from Thorpdale on Thursday morning was allegedly involved in a high speed pursuit from Trafalgar to Warragul.
Police said the vehicle, with New South Wales registration CP11DY was stolen from a Trafalgar South Rd property between 8am and 10am.
Police said the vehicle was left unlocked and keys in the ignition.
Sen Sgt Bartley said the vehicle was seen by police in Trafalgar at 9.30pm on Thursday night. A pursuit began in Ashby St, Trafalgar and was terminated in Brandy Creek Rd, Warragul when police determined the risk to community members was too high.
In another incident, a stolen car was pushed down the hill of Civic Park, Warragul during the early hours of Friday morning, crashing through the rotunda where a man was asleep.
The abandoned vehicle was discovered by Baw Baw Shire staff at 6.45am.
The white Ford Kuga wagon had been stolen from Trafalgar.
Police said the vehicle was unoccupied when it crashed through the rotunda.
The vehicle appears to have been abandoned at the top of the hill, crashed through one side of the rotunda and out the other side.
Police said a homeless person was asleep in the rotunda at the time but was not injured.
Council put in place temporary fencing to secure the site and expects the damage bill to be more than $5000.
Sen Sgt Bartley said police believed a number of petrol driveoffs at services stations in Yarragon and Warragul were linked to the car thefts.
There were three petrol drive-offs at Yarragon on March 28 and another one on Thursday.
In two of the incidents, the offenders were in stolen cars and in the other two incidents offenders were known to police.
A set of registration plates stolen from a vehicle in the West Gippsland Hospital car park was used in one of the petrol driveoffs.
Above: A stolen car was abandoned and pushed down the Civic Park hill during the early hours of Friday morning, crashing through two sides of the band rotunda.
Top right: A stolen Holden Captiva that led police on a hunt from Warragul to Leongatha yesterday morning.
Below right: A Landcruiser stolen from Thorpdale on Thursday was involved in a police pursuit from Trafalgar to Warragul on Thursday night before police terminated because of public safety.