MORNINGTON Peninsula service stations are increasingly being targeted by late-night thieves.
The Red Hill United servo was hit for the fifth time overnight on Wednesday 2 November, after previous robberies on 30 October, two in May – when doors to the servo were wrenched off their hinges – and one in September.
Thieves used different vehicles on each occasion, with the latest getaway car a Ford Falcon utility bearing false number plates.
A 23-year-old Clyde man was arrested on Friday and charged with the two most recent Red Hill United burglaries. He appeared at a bail hearing at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 5 November with a future court date still to be decided.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Nick Sweetman, of Mornington Peninsula CIU, said that on the latest occasion – but similar to previous robberies – two men smashed glass doors to force entry to the Arthurs Seat Rd service station.
They made off with lollies and soft drinks after being unable to access the cigarettes cupboard.
Damages to the building were “far greater” than the value of loot stolen.
Detective Sweetman sees the Red Hill robberies as the “tip of the ice berg”.
The United service station in Somerville was again ram-raided, 4.30am, Sunday 30 October, in the third smash and grab since August.
Detective Sweetman said thieves may have used a tow truck stolen earlier from Keysborough to punch through a barrier chain and run over bollards, then smash through a glass sliding door in an effort to steal the ATM.
The top of the machine was ripped off in the robbery attempt but no money was stolen before the thieves sped away from the servo, on the Frankston-Flinders Rd.
The Coles Express in Somerville has also been raided three times since August; the Shell Somerville once, and the United servo in Hastings once. In that raid, on 21 October, thieves made off with $3000 in cigarettes and $500 cash.
“Most raids are early in the week, late at night or early morning,” Detective Sweetman said.
“Police are doing their best to patrol service stations and other retail cigarette outlets.”
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.