Five young offenders arrested after seven armed robberies across the east

Eastern Region police have arrested five armed children amid investigation over seven violent offences and a stolen vehicle. Picture: SHAMSIYA HUSSAINPOOR.

By Shamsiya Hussainpoor

Police arrested five children in a high-speed chase on Tuesday 16 April after a stolen car was spotted in Melbourne’s outer east.

Eastern Region detectives are investigating seven violent offences that ended in a high-speed pursuit.

At about 5.45pm, an attempted armed robbery occurred in Belgrave South on Belgrave Road where it is alleged an offender armed with a knife attempted to open a locked front door of a business before fleeing in a stolen BMW.

It is alleged three of the armed offenders entered a store in Glen Waverley on Kerrie Road at about 6.40pm and stole approximately $16,000 in cigarettes before fleeing in the stolen BMW.

An hour later, it is alleged four offenders entered a store on Mount Dandenong Road Montrose, before one offender, armed with a knife, made threats towards staff, stole cigarettes and then fled in the stolen BMW.

The armed offenders then travelled to Doncaster at about 8.20pm, in an attempt to rob a store in Doncaster Road, where it is alleged four offenders armed with knives attempted to access a cigarette cabinet inside a store before fleeing in the stolen BMW.

At about 8.45pm, it is alleged the four offenders were spotted in Diamond Creek on Main Hurstbridge Road, where they tried to open a cigarette cabinet before stealing a cash box with approximately $650 inside before fleeing in the stolen BMW.

The armed offenders were in Wantirna on Boronia Road at about 10.20pm, where it alleged four male offenders jumped the counter inside a business and attempted to steal cigarettes, before being confronted by a staff member and fleeing with five packets of cigarettes.

And just before the armed children were arrested by the police, they were spotted in Boronia on Boronia Road at about 10.25pm, where it is alleged four offenders jumped the counter of a business and stole approximately $13,000 worth of cigarettes and $1000 in cash before fleeing in an allegedly stolen BMW.

The police spotted the allegedly stolen black BMW sedan and began chasing the offenders in Boronia, near Mountain Highway at about 10.25pm.

“It was a successful outcome yesterday evening, it could have been a lot worse,” Detective Inspector Rod Neylan said during a police press conference on Wednesday 17 April.

The BMW involved in this incident was stolen overnight on 8 and 9 April while parked on the street in Footscray.

With the assistance of the Air Wing, police tracked the stolen car as it drove erratically at high speeds across Glen Iris, Camberwell, Richmond, Collingwood, and Melbourne’s CBD.

The BMW allegedly reached speeds of up to 190km an hour on Eastlink and continued to be driven erratically and at dangerous speeds – causing significant risk to the public into Melbourne’s CBD.

The five boys arrested, aged 14 from Rowville, 15 from Seaford, 16 from Wantirna and two 17-year-olds from Clyde and Cranbourne East, remain in custody and will be interviewed by police.

“All the risks have been averted, luckily there’s no major injuries to any party,” Det Neylan said.

One of the offenders taken into custody sustained minor injuries and was transported to hospital for treatment.

“We’re looking at young children that are driving in high powered, stolen vehicles up our eastern freeway, clearly given their age and their experience, we’ve got major concerns – their driving is dangerous and it’s not only placing them but also placing the community at risk,” Det Neylan said

Throughout the pursuit, the driver of the BMW allegedly very narrowly avoided civilian vehicles and pedestrians in the vicinity.

A co-ordinated police response, involving police from uniform, highway patrol and the Air Wing resulted in police taking action to ram the stolen BMW on Wellington Street in East Melbourne at about 11.20pm to prevent any further serious risk to the community.

The five teenage offenders were taken into custody and were remanded to appear before the children’s court at a later date.

“The police have done a great job last night but it’s not over yet, we’re still investigating the crimes that are going to be alleged, the children are assisting us with inquiries,” Det Neylan said.

“I just want to reassure the community that we’re doing all we can to hold these perpetrators to account.”

Det Neylan said previously the police primarily dealt with teens who were involved in graffiti and committing small crime but now youth crime is escalating to serious armed robberies, and stolen cars with weapons.

Investigators have linked the stolen BMW to seven serious and violent offences that occurred prior to the pursuit on Tuesday where the offenders, armed with machetes, targeted small businesses.

Police said they were investigating up to $30,000 worth of cigarettes stolen in those seven events.

“We’re well aware there is community concern out there, I think it’s well publicised about how our children are out there at night committing these sorts of crimes,” he said.

“We are with the public, we represent the public and we’re here to disrupt that behaviour as best as we can.”

Anyone with information, or who has dashcam footage or CCTV is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crime