Police in the Ballarat division are astounded with the complacency of vehicle owners after a computer, iPods and even a gun were taken from unlocked cars in recent days.
Detectives say between December 13 and 17, almost 20 unlocked vehicles were targeted by thieves in the Bacchus Marsh area.
A rifle sitting inside one of the unlocked vehicles was taken, while iPods, wallets, handbags and a laptop computer were also stolen.
In Ballarat, police performed a recent patrol around the central business district and found in excess of 20 vehicles were left unlocked.
Detective Senior Constable Leigh Discher from Moorabool Criminal Investigation Unit said the latest spate of theft from motor vehicles had been disappointing.
“It’s unfortunate because people still think of Bacchus Marsh as a small country town and some people believe it’s safe enough to leave their cars unlocked,” he said.
“We encourage everyone to lock their vehicles and remove any valuable items from those vehicles.”
Leading Senior Constable Donna Parsons, the Crime Prevention Officer for Ballarat police, said that people were still leaving valuables in vehicles on show and leaving vehicles unlocked.
“It even astounded me that during a recent patrol in Ballarat to see the number of vehicles left unlocked or windows down whilst parked in the street during the day,” she said.
“Police work hard to apprehend these thieves and reduce these crimes from occurring but the community needs to take responsibility and not make it easy for the opportunistic criminal.”
Police told The Courier they had arrested a 14-year-old boy in relation to thefts from motor vehicles.
He has been charged and will appear in a children’s court at a later date.
Police also recovered a “quantity” of stolen property following the arrest.
Anyone with information on the recent thefts can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.