Six are arrested in Echuca raids

By Ivy Jensen

UPDATE:  FIVE of the six Echuca men arrested in the mass raids this week have been charged and bailed, while one will remain behind bars until his next court appearance.

Ricky McLeod, 26, was remanded in custody on Tuesday before appearing in Echuca Magistrates Court the next day where he was further remanded to the same court on February 26.

He has been charged with dangerous driving (relating to an incident in Echuca the weekend before), theft of a motor vehicle, handling stolen goods, committing an indictable offence while on bail and two counts of breaching a conduct condition of bail.

Police also charged five others, aged 33, 32, 27 and two 28-year-olds, with burglary, theft, drug and weapon-related offences.

They have all been bailed to appear at Echuca Magistrates Court on April 2. 

A 25-year-old man was interviewed and released pending summons.

EARLIER: SIX ECHUCA men have been arrested as part of a joint investigation into a spate of burglaries throughout northern Victoria.

Police raided six Echuca properties at Woodlands Circuit, Stawell, Paroo, Leichardt and Boothman streets and Lady Augusta Rd about 6am yesterday.

Police expected to charge the men, aged between 25 and 33, with burglary and theft offences and were yesterday making applications to remand them in custody.

They were also planning another search warrant in relation to a car theft in NSW.

The arrests follow a six-week investigation into more than 30 aggravated, residential and commercial burglaries across the Campaspe, Moira and Shepparton areas over the past six weeks by Moira, Campaspe and Shepparton police, Eastern Region Crime Squad and Central Victoria Response Unit.

During the searches, police seized a yellow Holden Monaro, firearms, stolen tools, motorbike, firearms scope, a safe, a conducted energy device, a fire starter, rifle stock and an ammunition belt.

Victoria Police eastern region (div 4) crime advisor Detective Senior Sergeant Luke Kirton said jewellery and a small amount of drugs yet to be identified were also seized.

‘‘There were a number of burglaries on commercial and residential premises and rural properties so we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars,’’ Det. Snr Sgt Kirton said.

‘‘We have worked collaboratively with the eastern region to identify a series of suspects and we anticipate further arrests as a result of this investigation.’’

Det. Snr Sgt Kirton praised investigators who he had ‘‘worked extremely hard over the last six weeks to identify these offenders’’.

‘‘We’re very pleased with the results of today which validates the extremely hard work that they’ve put into identifying these people quickly and making sure these arrests were executed along with the search warrants,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s been a significant amount of good police work done and communication between both eastern and western region that has enabled us to piece the puzzle together and actually identify who these suspects were and action it.

‘‘We’re always interested in hearing from members of the community to assist without investigations and anyone with any further information about these series of burglaries and thefts from our area, we’d be grateful to hear from them at Crime Stoppers (1800333000).’’

Wangaratta Inspector Kerrie Hicks said the arrests highlighted the importance of collaborative investigation work in identifying and arresting repeat offenders.

‘‘Our cross regional law enforcement model continues to evolve with excellent information sharing and joint investigations. We know that offenders don’t stop at the borders, and neither do we,’’ he said.

‘‘This is a timely reminder to everyone to lock up their valuables and if they have any information regarding any offending to please call Crime Stoppers.

‘‘I’d like to thank the community for their ongoing support. It is our focus to ensure not only that people are safe but that they feel safe.’’