Victorian Police Detectives from the Marine Investigations Unit arrested two men and seized more than $1.8 million in stolen property and drugs. The arrests follow an investigation into a large-scale boat theft involving two fishing boats worth more than $100,000 each. The boats were allegedly stolen from addresses in Williamstown in two separate incidents that occurred on 22 February and 14 March.
Detectives, assisted by the North West Metro Regional Crime Squad and Water Police Squad executed a search warrant at a Heathcote property on 7 April. Two Bar Crusher boats and trailers, valued at more than $240,000 were also located during the search.
On 26 April, a further search warrant was executed at a Murchison property, with assistance from the Shepparton Divisional Response Unit, where a 52-year-old was arrested.
Detectives seized a large amount of allegedly stolen property and drugs including:
- 115kg of dried cannabis worth an estimated $1.5 million on the street
- Two firearms
Various vehicles valued at $70,000 were also seized. Inspector Greg Barras from Water Police stated the arrests were ‘a reminder to anyone thinking of stealing and rebirthing boats that we have a dedicated team of marine detectives who will catch up with you.’
Following the arrests, the Murchison man was charged with trafficking offences, handling stolen goods, possessing category A longarm unlicensed, and possess imitation firearm. The man appeared in Shepparton Magistrate’s Court on 27 April and was remanded to re-appear on 19 July.
A further search warrant was executed on 2 May 2022 at a South Kingsville address where police found vessel registration stickers, drugs, a samurai sword, and allegedly stolen computers and phones. A 53-year-old man presented to a police station and was interviewed by detectives on 3 May, where he was subsequently released pending summons and is expected to be charged with a number of drug and theft offences.
Police continue investigations with further arrests expected.
Police have urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via www.crimestoppervic.com.au