Three charged after ram-raids

Belgrave South IGA has it's front window boarded up after the weekend. Picture: TANYA STEELE

By Tanya Steele

Three teenagers, with one as young as 13, have been charged with multiple alleged ram raids targeting the Dandenong Ranges.

Eastern Region Crime Squad detectives charged the three males following a series of alleged ram-raids and aggravated burglaries in the eastern suburbs on Saturday 18 May.

The alleged crimes were fast-paced with several service stations and stores being hit overnight – with two underage males allegedly part of the spree.

It is alleged two males used a hammer and attempted to force entry into a service station on Princes Way in Drouin about 2.45am, they were unsuccessful and fled the scene in a white utility.

Later, it is alleged a white utility rammed the front window of a store on Belgrave-Hallam Road in Belgrave South about 3.50am.

The Belgrave South IGA now has a completely boarded-up window and staff were left shaken by the alleged incident.

Across the road at the Ampol, the service station staff said these kinds of incidents can happen frequently and someone attempted to gain access to their store only a few weeks earlier.

A short time later, a white utility allegedly drove into the front doors of a BP service station on Burwood Highway in Tecoma.

The damages had been repaired by Monday 20 May and staff said the alleged offenders did not gain access to the building.

The Upwey 7-Eleven was closed for business due to the damages at the station on Saturday and had limited operations on Sunday after a white utility allegedly rammed the front doors at about 4am.

“It’s a really close community here and I am very sad about it,” said a staff member at the store.

It is alleged the male occupants of the utility, as well as an occupant of another light-coloured sedan, forced entry into the store using a hammer and stole cigarettes.

The staff member inside the store at the time was not physically injured.

A 7-Eleven staff member said the worker on duty was quite shaken but alleged that he saw the alleged thieves coming and got into the locked room of the store before the youths began forcing entry into the story

“We work really hard and when you come across things like this, it is pretty upsetting,” the worker said.

Arrests were made as a result of the alleged crimes and a 19-year-old Ashwood man was arrested in Mulgrave Street, Ashwood and he has been charged with dangerous driving whilst pursued by police and attempted burglary.

He will appear at the Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court on 18 June.

Two boys were arrested in Hight Street Road, Wantirna.

A 15-year-old Wantirna boy was charged with multiple counts of aggravated burglary, burglary, robbery, theft and criminal damage and a 13-year-old Hampton Park boy was charged with multiple counts of aggravated burglary, burglary, theft, criminal damage and dangerous driving offences.

They will both appear at a children’s court at a later date.

In Upper Ferntree Gully at the Apollo Fuel Service station also had an alleged robbery over the weekend, with access gained to the store and cigarettes stolen – however police media have stated this was not linked to the other alleged crimes.