A CAR at Mornington and two others at Frankston were among dozens targeted by thieves for their catalytic converters – part of the exhaust system – which are usually on-sold for cash.
Detective Senior Sergeant Eddie Logonder, of Somerville CIU, said the owner of a Nissan X-Trail arrived at a factory in Progress Street, Mornington, on Thursday 12 August to find the car jacked. Cautiously looking underneath, he was relieved to find nothing missing.
This was not the norm, though. Transit police last week arrested three men over the thefts, mainly from vehicles parked outside railway stations in the southeast, which caused an estimated $35,000 in damage to the vehicles.
They will allege the men were involved in 49 incidents involving 70 thefts from motor vehicles and five attempted thefts from motor vehicles, 5 May-24 August.
The thefts and attempted thefts occurred across 10 suburbs. Greater Dandenong was hardest hit, with 40 alleged thefts, followed by Casey 16, Kingston 6, Monash 4, Knox 3, Frankston 2, Glen Eira 1, Maroondah 1 and Yarra Ranges 1.
Police executed four warrants last Thursday morning at Cranbourne North, Noble Park and Cranbourne, arresting three men and seizing property including tools, car jacks and clothing.
They included a 20-year-old Cranbourne North man who was charged with 32 counts of theft from vehicles and attempted theft from a vehicle; a 24-year-old Noble Park man (21 counts of theft and attempted theft), and a 21-year-old Cranbourne man (37 counts of theft and attempted theft).
The three men were bailed to appear at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court at a later date.
“Thefts like this cause more than just inconvenience for car owners,” Detective Acting Inspector Robert Milliken said.
“We know that thieves often steal car parts for cash so, to them, our message is clear: If your intention is to commit crime in the vicinity of public transport, don’t bother. You will be caught and held accountable.
“Transit police are actively working to tackle crime on and around the public transport network, including railway station car parks.
“We urge car owners catching the train to park in well-lit areas where possible and remove valuables from their vehicles.”