Ar­rest ends pur­suit

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Yvette Brand

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.

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