DETECTIVES are hunting a man responsible for stealing upwards of $50,000 in cigarettes and smoking supplies from service stations in the Western Port area over the past two months.
Senior Constable Natasha Van Den Brink, of Somerville CIU, said the lone burglar had used a crow bar and angle grinder to force entry and steal the items from only United service stations in the early morning raids.
The first occurred in the first week in September and the latest last week.
Service stations targeted included the Hastings United on Marine Parade, Hastings, 3 September, when $4300 in cigarettes was stolen; Tyabb on Frankston-Flinders Road, 13 September ($2500 cigarettes stolen); Moorooduc on Moorooduc Road, 3 October ($25,000); the Moorooduc United again, 11 October ($12,000); and the Hastings United again, also on 11 October ($600).
The same offender raided the Red Hill United on Arthurs Seat Road, 15 October and, while the value of items stolen had not been determined yesterday (Monday), “substantial” damage was caused by an angle grinder used to open a glass display cabinet.
Senior Constable Van Den Brink said it was unclear why United service stations were being targeted. The times of the raids varied from 1am-5am.
She is appealing to witnesses to help identify the offender who is described as male, 180-190cm tall, medium build and wearing gloves.