Police are concerned about a recent spate of thefts of trailers from rural and residential properties in Gippsland and are asking owners to be vigilant.
Victoria Police community liaison officer Leading Senior Constable Brett Godden said box trailers were the main model stolen from properties in the Latrobe area.
Ldg Snr Const Godden added during the period between May and October two fuel tankers were also stolen from properties in Trafalgar and Hazelwood North.
“There were no particular days where the theft was more likely to occur, however trailers from worksites were more likely to be taken over a weekend when no person was around,” Ldg Snr Const Godden said.
“In nearly every incident police believe a vehicle would have been used to remove the trailer.”
Police have asked building site workers to make sure sites are locked at the end of each working day.
“A number of folks leave their trailer unsecured on the front lawn and this allows the opportunistic thief to steal the trailer very easily,” Ldg Snr Const Godden said.
“Theft of trailers is all about time.
“The longer it takes to hook the trailer up the less inviting it is to thieves.”
He said some of the measures that could be taken were securing the trailer in the rear yard out of view, fitting a lock, chaining the trailer to a solid item in the rear yard, making markings and registering your trailer with Crime Stoppers trailer registry.
Opportunity gives rise to thefts
Ten offenders have been charged with multiple counts of theft within the Latrobe Valley during October, prompting police concerns.
Police are asking the community to make it harder for opportunistic thieves by taking simple steps to reduce the risks of their property being stolen.
“A large number of the incidents, not only during October but at other times of the year, relate to property which people have left behind whilst distracted,” Ldg Snr Cosnt Godden said.
“Of course when the person returns to the table or the counter their property is missing, stolen by an unscrupulous thief.”
Ldg Snr Const Godden said the advent of self-serve registers in department stores and supermarkets had seen a rise in the offence of theft by finding.
“People get cash out when paying for groceries or items and then leave the cash behind,” he said.
“The next person comes along finds the cash and does not make reasonable enquiries to return to the money.
“Handbags being left open in supermarket trolleys are also another avenue for theft of mobile phones or purses.”
Ldg Snr Const Godden said simple measures such as keeping valuable hidden when not in use and checking you have taken your money with you at a register or ATM can prevent crime.