BALLARAT police are concerned that officers might be impersonated after seven plaques containing police badges were stolen from a home in Mount Clear over the weekend.
About $5000 worth of goods were taken during the burglary at a Tinworth Avenue property including jewellery, a coin collection, a commemorative Sovereign Hill gold nugget and an old-style woman’s police ceremonial hat.
But Detective Senior Constable Andrew Cummins said the plaques, of which two contained Victorian police badges and the rest either Australian Federal Police or international police department badges, posed the greatest danger to the public.
“Our concern is that these plaques may be damaged in a way that the badges are removed and could be used to attempt to impersonate a police officer,” he said.
“The property stolen is unusual given they are police plaques that contain police badges, and we want to ensure that no one is fooled at all with this identification.
“People should check the validity of police ID, particularly members who are not in uniform, just to verify who they are, and if they have any concerns call 000 immediately.”
The Tinworth Avenue house was ransacked after an unknown number of offenders gained entry through a window.
Police said it was unknown whether the property was targeted for the badges or whether they were discovered by chance.
Detective Cummins said the number of burglaries in Ballarat had not spiked during the holiday season, but warned residents to take extra precautions just in case.
“It’s important you secure your house and also advise trustworthy neighbours when you’re going away and get them to keep an eye on your place,” he said.
“This lady had done the right thing and deadlocked her home but unfortunately they forced entry via a window.”
Anyone with information about the burglary should contact the Ballarat Crime Investigation Unit on 5336 6080 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.