Tradies warned: ‘Watch out for thieves’


A “MASSIVE increase” in the theft of power tools on the southern peninsula is worrying police.

They say thieves are targeting tradies’ vehicles and trailers in Mt Eliza, Mornington, Mt Martha, Somerville, Safety Beach and Dromana during the day and overnight.

“After hours, tradies should keep their tools out of sight in a locked garage if possible,” Detective Acting Sergeant Robert Vine said. “If this is not an option they should park in a well-lit area and make sure their tools are locked up.”

Tradies are advised to also lock their vehicles when parked outside a job as it is less likely thieves will use force to gain entry during the day.

Overnight, offenders are cutting locks on trailers and forcing canopy locks and cutting or forcing tonneau covers.

Police concerns for tradies was underscored on Friday morning when a thief attempted to steal a tradie’s van while its owner was in a nearby cafe.

The tradie had left his van with the motor running in a Diane Street, Mornington, car park when the would-be thief saw his opportunity.

However the theft was foiled when the tradie, 25, sprinted out of the café when he saw his van being driven off.

The thief fell out of the door into the gutter and into the arms of the angry tradie.

The van stopped rolling when it hit several parked vars.

A Carrum Downs man has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle and will appear in Frankston Magistrates Court on 13 September.

“Before tradies think what a pain it is to have to lock the car constantly, they should think, ‘Would I still be able to work without my tools?,’” Detective Vine said.

“Tradies should realise that if they are offered cheap tools they have most likely been stolen – and they may well know who from. So, please, let police know.”

Tradies should mark their tools by engraving them or permanently marking them with their names and drivers’ licence numbers. This makes it harder for thieves to offload them – and, hopefully, generate a greater return rate of stolen tools. The tools, batteries and chargers should all be marked.

Owners of stolen power tools should actively look for them at second-hand dealers at least seven days after they have been stolen, as well as on e-Bay, Gumtree, Facebook buy, swap and sell sites, and at others like Gray’s Auctions. Second-hand dealers cannot display goods for sale within a week of receiving them.

“If you see your items for sale please notify police as soon as possible and do not notify the seller,” Detective Acting Sergeant Robert Vine said. “Please help us help you.”

Anyone with information on thefts, or who sees anything, anyone or any vehicle they think is suspicious, is urged to call police or Detective Acting Sergeant Robert Vine at the Mornington Peninsula Crime Unit, 5978 1400, or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

First published in the Mornington News – 12 June 2018


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