UNDERGROUND storage facilities – or “cages” – are being targeted by burglars, especially in Mentone.
Kingston police are investigating seven cases of theft from the cages which may contain racing cycles, TVs, computer equipment and other valuables. Owners’ cars are also being broken into, damaged, and valuables taken in underground carparks.
Childers St, Mentone, has been hit six times. An apartment block resident, who would not be named, said up to 10 cages had been ransacked last month, with the thieves on site for four hours – all captured on CCTV footage.
She lost property valued at $1690 in the raid, with some stolen items marked “Wardy”.
“Number plates and tools were stolen, and 10 or more storage cages were forced open and their contents stolen,” the woman said. “My car had the window smashed and an attempt made to steal it, another vehicle was stolen, and more storage cages were broken into in the apartments next door.”
Two offenders are shown on the footage wearing large jackets and gloves, but the angle of the cameras makes identification difficult. The thieves walked down an access ramp – possibly when another resident drove in – and took their time looting the area.
Detective Senior Sergeant Leighton Richardson said CCTV had its limitations. “It really only works when a policeman recognises a suspect,” he said. “If we don’t know them it makes it hard to track them.”
The woman said the thieves were onsite 3.30-6.50am – “even while people were leaving for work”.
This followed a previous robbery at the apartment block in mid-June at a similar time. The incidents were reported to Moorabbin police who attended and took statements.
The woman said there had “been 10 – if not more – incidents in the short 2.5 years we have lived here”.
A second Childers St resident lost goods valued at $1070 and a third $1800 in raids last month.
Sergeant Leo Raso, of Moorabbin police, said thieves “often did multiples” of burglaries when they targeted an area. He warned residents to “not presume the storage cages are safe”.
“They may have a padlock and steel mesh but these can be overcome, and the thieves – often in gangs – have plenty of time to gain access to the items which are plainly visible,” he said.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Senior Constable Richardson, 9556 6135.