BURGLARIES at two farms in Tuerong have highlighted the risks residents take in leaving their property unguarded in unlocked sheds and garages.
Detective Sergeant Nick Vallas, of Mornington police, said “thousands of dollars” in handyman tools and equipment, including a generator, nail gun and sporting equipment, was stolen from the large rural properties on 21 May.
These goods will make their way onto the second-hand market, where naive – or unscrupulous – buyers will snap them up for unrealistically cheap prices, he said.
Last week police raided three Hastings properties looking for stolen goods, and, at one address, found a previously stolen chainsaw which the occupant reportedly had bought for $300 second-hand. He was the “innocent party” in the transaction but had to forfeit the chainsaw to police.
“Out of 80 burglaries we investigated last month – in Bittern, Safety Beach, Dromana, Red Hill, Main Ridge and Tuerong – a high proportion of goods had been stolen from sheds and holiday homes,” Det. Vallas said.
“There could be $20,000 worth of tools and equipment in them but the owner still leaves the doors unlocked – and yet every tradie needs tools so there is always a ready market for thieves,” he said.
“We have got to get the message through. Owners must write down the makes, models, serial numbers and purchase details of all their equipment – and take photographs – so that, if anything gets stolen, we can return it.
“The details can be stored online, on memory sticks, in diaries – anywhere – but we need that information as proof of purchase so we can return stolen items to their rightful owners.”
Det Vallas said external movement lights, quality locks, chains and padlocks deterred thieves, who didn’t want their job made any harder. He urged those buying second-hand tools to get the names and addresses of sellers before agreeing to buy them.
“And, don’t just meet someone in the car park, or out the back of the pub,” he warned.
“Also, if the price is too cheap, or the serial number has been scratched off, then alarm bells should ring. Remember, if police catch up with you, you could be charged with handling stolen goods, as well as losing the items which, hopefully, will then be returned to their rightful owners.”
He said property owners should also check their insurance policies to ensure items and equipment are covered for theft.