DETECTIVES believe a cigarette burglary operation covering Frankston, Langwarrin, Seaford and surrounding suburbs has been scuttled with a couple of arrests last week.
Detective Leading Senior Constable Belinda Rampal, of Frankston CIU, said a man, 25, has been charged with 54 offences and a girl, 17, charged with 20 offences, including burglary, theft, evading police and conduct endangering life.
The pair is believed to have stolen up to $50,000 in cigarettes over the past two months from supermarkets and newsagents using jemmy bars and angle grinders to force security doors and cut locks to cabinets. The thefts also allegedly occurred at Chelsea Heights, Dingley Village and Dandenong.
The car they were driving was stolen.
The pair, of no fixed address, was arrested in a Cranbourne West house.
The man has been remanded to appear at Frankston Magistrates’ Court on 28 April and his co-accused bailed to appear at Children’s Court in June.
“This is a significant arrest as the offenders were linked to numerous cigarette burglaries and thefts,” Detective Rampal said. “These people have no regard for police or public safety.
“The damage caused to the stores was also significant placing great stress on the owners of the businesses.
“Most small businesses struggle to make ends meet without having to fork out extra money to fix significant damage caused by burglaries of this nature.
The conduct endangering life charges stem from three pursuits with police in a stolen vehicle that Detective Rampal said were “dangerous and placed the safety of the public at great risk”.