By Danielle Kutchel
An Officer resident has detailed the moment he caught a thief who had attempted to break into his home.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, was at his home in the Arcadia estate with his family when he heard the garage door open and shut.
Confused, the couple went out to check on their garage and cars, and were shocked to find that their garage remote control had been stolen from one of their cars, which had unfortunately been left unlocked.
A dashcam and some loose change were also missing.
The couple checked their CCTV and called police, and the resident drove around nearby streets looking for the thief.
Unable to find him, they made a report to the police and decided to buy takeaway for dinner.
But on their way to the shops they spotted the man, apparently checking for unlocked cars.
The family called police to provide their location and followed as stealthily as they could.
They eventually found the man, who had been intercepted by protective services officers near Cardinia Road station.
The alleged thief turned out to be a teenager and was eventually taken away by police.
The garage remote was later found and the resident said they quickly re-coded it to safeguard their security.
The dashcam was also found on a neighbour’s nature strip.
Despite the circumstances, the resident said he didn’t believe the youth had been “out to steal things”.
“I think he was just a bored kid. That doesn’t excuse things, but it sounds like he’d had a pretty troubled home life as well,” he said.
Nevertheless, the event had caused him some concern, especially given their neighbours had also suffered a break-in in the past.
But he said the incident had led to some positive outcomes.
“Everyone’s a bit more vigilant now. It’s brought the community together a bit. We’re all looking out for each other more,” he said.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said while police haven’t seen a significant increase in the number of burglaries and thefts reported in the area, they still encourage residents to take steps to secure their home, including installing good quality locks on doors and windows, installing alarms as deterrents, locking all windows and doors of houses and cars and removing valuables like car keys, wallets and cash from plain sight.
“Data from the Crime Statistics Agency shows that crime in Officer has decreased by 7.3 per cent over the past 12 months,” the spokesperson said.
“This includes decreases in crime categories such as burglaries, theft of motor vehicle and theft from motor vehicle.
“As part of Operation Tidal, local police have dedicated, proactive patrols in the area to deter and detect any crimes.”
Arcadia is a growing estate in Officer, developed by Satterley.
Satterley’s general manager for Victoria and Queensland, Jack Hoffmann, said: “Arcadia residents are a tight knit community who look out for each other. Satterley is keen to work with the community on initiatives to help combat safety concerns.”