By Rowan Forster
A brazen booze bandit with a thirst for bourbon has broken into the Pakenham Upper Toomuc Cricket Club for a third time in four months, devastating the tight-knit club.
The thief hurled a rock through a window of the Gembrook Road pavilion in the early hours of Thursday morning, fleeing with armfuls of Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan’s cans.
It came as yet another blow for the Yabbies, slugged thousands of dollars in repairs from the previous incidents.
Club president Stuart Langley has reached breaking point, unsure of how to thwart the serial crook.
He told the Gazette that due to the premises being council-owned, he has to acquire special permission to install a CCTV system.
“He’s specific about what he wants,” Mr Langley said.
“We’re still waiting on some repairs to be done from the last two break-ins.
“He knows that this is a super soft target at the moment, and I can’t put cameras in straight away because of all the hoops of it being a council building.”
After each invasion, Cardinia’s Crime Investigation Unit have scoured the scene and taken fingerprints, but no arrests have been made.
Mr Langley said it is having a dire effect on the club.
“He’s getting more and more aggressive, so we don’t know where it will end,” he said.
“We’re worried that if he gets inside and can’t take anything, he might torch the place.”
It has led police to suspect that thieves are targeting sporting and community groups.
Fuelling speculation, Kooweerup Cricket Club president Paul West revealed his club had been targeted four times in two months, several seasons ago.
The Yabbies president said he has been less than satisfied with the reactiveness shown by police.
“They come out and take fingerprints, but we haven’t received a single follow-up call,” Mr Langley added.
“We’ve been on tenterhooks, worrying that he’s going to come back.”
The club is now pleading with Cardinia Shire Council to assist in security upgrades, to protect the pavilion from crooks.
The first break-in preceded the AFL Grand Final, the second on Melbourne Cup night and the latest incident during the Christmas and New Year break.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.