Nineteen people charged after dozens of shopping centre heists netted $500,000 in stolen property

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Rourke WalshThe West Australian
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VideoA network of organised burglars accused of smashing their way inside shopping centres across Perth and stealing about $500,000 worth property has been busted by a two-month police operation.

A network of organised burglars accused of smashing their way inside shopping centres across Perth and stealing about half a million dollars’ worth property has been busted by a two-month police operation.

Police say Operation Dashcam was launched in May after detectives linked two break-ins at Mirrabooka Square and Warwick Grove shopping centres.

It is alleged the gang used tools including crowbars, sledgehammers and axes to force their way inside the shopping centres either late at night or early in the morning and target high-value items such as jewellery, mobile phones and cigarettes.

Police allege those charged smashed their way inside shopping centres across Perth.
Camera IconPolice allege those charged smashed their way inside shopping centres across Perth. Credit: WA POLICE

The investigation led police to arrest 19 people earlier this month who were later charged with more than 160 offences linked to about 40 separate burglaries across the metropolitan area. The majority of the charges were aggravated burglary, stealing and stealing motor vehicle offences.

Detective Sergeant Bevan Roe said police had recovered a large amount stolen property but that their investigation was ongoing.

“The criminal network was quite organised and very motivated,” he said. “There wasn’t a specific pattern to the offending but it was across a month and there was a large number of offences.”

Police say about $500,000 in property was stolen.
Camera IconPolice say about $500,000 in property was stolen. Credit: WA Police/WA POLICE

Det-Sgt Roe said it was alleged the 19 people charged were all associates with some aged as young as 16. He said many of the alleged burglaries involved the thieves allegedly stealing cars from homes that they later used to target the shopping centres.

“I think the methodology used meant we were able to quickly identify some links between people involved,” he said. “During the investigation we did come across a number of items that were left in stolen vehicles of seized from premises — they were crowbars, sledgehammers, axes and screwdrivers.”

Police say their investigation is continuing and anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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