A SERIES of thefts from sporting clubs and small community groups has occurred across the Latrobe Valley, with copper being targeted by burglars in some cases.
Glengarry Recreation Reserve fell victim last Thursday when copper was stripped from the venue’s water pipes.
Reserve secretary Mark Berming ham said about $1500 to $2000 worth of repairs had to be carried out prior to last weekend’s cricket fixtures.
“Last Thursday night we went to use the water and there was no water,” Mr Bermingham said.
“We went to turn it on and found the copper pipe at the reserve had been cut, then on further investigation found they’d cut all the copper pipe against the wall, a (copper) gas pipeline was cut and on the toilet blocks all the copper had been cut from that.
“We had no water at the reserve and had to get that repaired.”
Mr Bermingham said he was aware other sporting clubs and community groups had also been targeted, including Gormandale, Traralgon-Tyers United, Toongabbie Cricket Club and Toongabbie Men’s Shed.
He said the alleged burglars at Glengarry were approached by a member of the public and believed they were driving a small white car.
“Someone approached them and they were very aggressive. That person backed off, told somebody else and next thing there was a small white car speeding from the reserve,” he said.
“It’s just public awareness; they’re targeting small community groups.”
Latrobe Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Michael Thek said Makita drills had been stolen from Toongabbie CC and that copper theft was a recurring problem.
“Copper theft is something that goes on constantly really. It’s always a target for crooks depending on what price they’re fetching for it at the time,” he said.
Police advised sporting clubs to be vigilant.
“Have good locks on the doors, keep alcohol and sporting equipment securely locked away, have CCTV if they can afford those measures,” Det Thek said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.