Police recover more than $30mil of stolen vehicles in Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia since start of year

Police have recovered more than 1000 stolen vehicles across Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia alone since the start of the year, with several of these vehicles dumped after being joyridden by young offenders.

In less than six months, local officers and detectives have recovered 1005 stolen vehicles, valued at an estimated $30.6 million. Almost half of them were stolen from across Greater Dandenong, Cardinia and Casey.

Recent police intelligence shows across Victoria, over 50% of vehicles are stolen from residential streets and public locations, such as train station and shopping centre carparks.

Police from the Greater Dandenong Youth Gang Team – with assistance from Investigation and Response team, as well as the Eastern and Southern Region Crime Squads – have recovered 169 cars that were stolen during an aggravated burglary, with the estimated value of these vehicles totalling $6.6 million.

A significant number of high-end European cars were among those recovered, including Maserati’s, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes – as well as six Porsches. Several Range Rovers and Jaguars were also located.

Since 1 January, police have recovered 468 stolen vehicles in Casey, a further 411 in Dandenong, and 126 in Cardinia.

Almost $16 million worth of stolen vehicles have been recovered in Casey alone since the start of the year.

The significant number of vehicles recovered already this year follows on from the 1,420 vehicles stolen during aggravated burglaries that police tracked down in 2023 as part of Operation Trinity. 581 or 43.5% of these vehicles were recovered in Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia.

Last year alone, police recovered over 94% of all vehicles stolen during aggravated burglaries across Melbourne, given this offending is most often not driven by financial gain.

In several instances, offenders and stolen vehicles have been recovered across Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia just hours after being stolen.

Arrests and vehicle recoveries of note include:

• Police recovered a BMW 430, allegedly stolen during an aggravated burglary in Officer on 13 February. Five boys – a 13-year-old, two 16-year-olds, and a 17 and 18-year-old – have been charged with several offences including home invasion, and theft of a motor vehicle. The 18-year-old was remanded, and remains before the courts. The two 16-year-olds and the 17-year-old have been remanded to appear at a children’s court at a later date. The 13-year-old has been charged and bailed to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

• Between 9pm on 13 February and 4.30am on 14 February, a group of offenders allegedly gained access into a home in Beaumaris via an unlocked laundry door. There was no confrontation with the residents, and the group fled with a wallet and keys to a Volkswagen Arteon Station Wagon. Just after 6am, police will allege two boys entered a home in Keysborough where they stole the keys to a BMW X3, along with an Xbox. Less than two hours later, police located the Volkswagen on Sharon Road, Springvale. Following further enquiries, police arrested four boys at a shopping centre on Cheltenham Road, Keysborough, and recovered the BMW which was allegedly bearing stolen number plates. A 14-year-old boy from Highett was charged with three counts of home invasion, two counts of aggravated burglary, and two counts of theft of motor vehicle. He was remanded in custody. A 16-year-old boy from Springvale was charged with home invasion, six counts of aggravated burglary, and six counts of theft of motor vehicles. He was also remanded. Two boys aged 15 were charged with theft of a motor vehicle and bailed to appear before a children’s court at a later date.

• Following an alleged aggravated burglary at Beaumaris on 13 February where three offenders entered the home via an unlocked door, the trio fled in an Audi A4 reported stolen from an aggravated burglary in Clyde two days prior. Five people then allegedly entered a home in Black Rock, but were disturbed by the occupants and fled empty handed, before being involved in a police chase. The Audi was tracked to the Monash Freeway, before being recovered in Narre Warren South just before 5am. Shortly after, police located an allegedly stolen BMW 430 in Cranbourne, where the group allegedly tried to flee, however, were arrested soon after. Five boys aged between 14 and 17 were all charged with three counts of home invasion, two counts of theft of motor vehicle, and two counts of theft.

• A gold Toyota Camry, which had been stolen from an aquatic centre in Noble Park on 22 February was located in Keysborough the next day. Two 15-year-old boys were charged with theft of motor vehicle – one of them also charged with burglary, while a 13-year-old boy was cautioned by police.

• Four children aged between 14 and 15 were arrested following a collision in Berwick on 9 April, involving a Mazda3 allegedly stolen from a business on the Princes Highway, Narre Warren. The Mazda allegedly collided with another vehicle before slamming into a traffic light before the alleged driver and passengers fled on foot. A 14-year-old Seaford boy was charged with burglary, theft of motor vehicle, reckless conduct endangering serious injury, theft, unlicensed driving and fail to stop vehicle after an accident. He has been remanded to appear in a children’s court at a later date. Two 14-year-old girls and a 14-year-old boy were also charged, and bailed to appear in a children’s court at a later date.

• Police will allege a Honda HRV was stolen from Bentleigh East on 5 April, before being used in aggravated burglaries in Burwood and Preston. An 18-year-old Pakenham man was arrested on 11 April and charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of attempted burglary, intentionally cause injury, recklessly cause injury, two counts of theft of motor vehicle, and criminal damage. He has been remanded in custody.

• Five men aged between 23 and 29 were arrested following an alleged aggravated burglary in Black Rock on 22 May. The group is accused of gaining access to the residence via an unlocked door, and taking five sets of keys and three cars. A black Range Rover, a black Audi Q3 and a black Mercedes C63 were all allegedly stolen – one from the break-in at Black Rock that same day, as well as another car from Doveton – were recovered at a home in Langwarrin. The five men were arrested about midday that same day in Edward Street, Langwarrin, and charged with several offences. All remain before the courts.

Operation Trinity, which runs every single night until dawn targeting burglars and car thieves, is Victoria Police’s most well-resourced frontline policing operation at present.

There are 70 additional police rostered each night, on top of existing patrols.

This includes frontline officers, Highway Patrol members, the Dog Squad, Public Order Response Team, and Air Wing.

As a result of this intense focus, police have made over 1,400 arrests relating to burglaries and car thefts – with 83.8% below the age of 25 and 64.5% below the age of 18.

Victoria Police advises residents to ensure their vehicles are locked, and that valuables are removed to deter opportunistic thieves, and where possible, to park their cars in garages.

Quotes attributable to Acting Superintendent Andy McKee – Deputy Police Commander for Operation Trinity:

“We know that Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia are the worst dumping grounds in the state for stolen vehicles, and that’s why we are watching these areas – and offenders – like a hawk.

“We are generally not seeing cars stolen for profit – youth and child offenders are targeting particular high-end vehicles to joyride at high speeds across the city.

“Police hold strong concerns around young children with little to no formal driving experience behind the wheel of stolen vehicles on the roads and putting innocent motorists in harm’s way.

“That is why we are targeting this offending every single night as part of Operation Trinity, which has led to the arrest of over 1,400 burglars and car thieves in the past year.

“On top of arresting these offenders, we are recovering stolen vehicles every single day and returning them to their rightful owners.

“To those who commit these crimes, you expect to see us at any hour of the day and night; we are here waiting to hold you to account.”

/Public Release. View in full here.