Third break-in leaves men’s shed at a loss

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“OTHER than by connecting the doorknobs to a 240-volt charge I can’t see how we are going to keep them out.” Western Port Men’s Shed president Colin Proud was joking, but he was clearly upset after the club’s third costly break-in at its Frankston-Flinders Road headquarters in the past five months.

The latest raid, on Friday 27 December, followed another overnight Sunday 27 October, when tools valued at $6000 were stolen, and an earlier robbery a few months before that.

“It’s getting ridiculous,” Mr Proud said.

“This time they came in through the front door, whereas the past two times they got in via the back door.

“They used the same method of entry though: bending back the cover over the lock and levering the door open. Before that they had pushed up the front CCTV camera so it was pointing skywards and ripped off the rear CCTV camera.

“Once inside they turned the power off and stole the unit that runs the CCTV camera.

“Then they went through and took all the hand tools they could carry, including batteries and chargers, valued at $10,000 to $11,000.”

Many of the tools had been taken to the shed by Mr Proud to replace those stolen in previous raids.

“They took some really good ones, including AEG,” he said.

The losers include needy members of the Hastings community waiting for items to be made by the shed members.

Mr Proud said he was getting advice on having CCTV images stored in the cloud rather than on hard drives, which can be stolen. “That’s giving me some heart,” he said.

He said a pending conversation with the club’s insurer about this third robbery in five months would be “interesting”.

Detectives from Somerville CIU are studying images caught on CCTV earlier in December which may feature two men “casing” the club.

The shed is moving into new premises in Sudholz Street, Bittern. Work is due to start at the end of January.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 15 January 2020

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