WEST Wodonga was targeted in a crime spree at the weekend, with 20 burglaries and break-ins over three days.
The spree has led to renewed warnings from police for residents to lock up their cars and homes and keep valuables out of plain sight.
They say most of the thefts appeared to be quick grabs for an easy buck.
Just one man has been charged so far — an 18-year-old from West Wodonga, in relation to a break-in at Catholic College Wodonga on Saturday afternoon - but more are expected this week as investigations continue.
Detective Sgt Graeme Simpfendorfer said the crimes mostly occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.
He said there was little indication the crimes were related but police were “looking at all avenues”.
There were six residential burglaries; two aggravated burglaries, where thieves broke in while homeowners were asleep; up to 10 car break-ins; and break-ins at Catholic College in Silva Drive, and the new West Wodonga Medical Centre.
Detective Sen-Constable Ian Deverell said about $100 worth of tools were stolen in the school burglary, at 3pm on Saturday.
The 18-year-old has been charged with burglary, theft and criminal damage and will appear at Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on November 19.
Sen-Constable Deverell said a defibrillator was stolen from the medical centre and dumped nearby.
Senior receptionist at the clinic, Terri Thomson, said police had responded quickly upon hearing the building’s alarm go off.
“We were broken into also about two or three months ago ... it’s concerning to a certain extent but there’s no drugs kept here or anything, and we have good alarms and security systems.”
Police are treating the break-ins as a crime spree and think it could be young offenders.
“There’s always a bit of a spike (in crime) over the school holidays but this is a bit higher than normal,” Sgt Simpfendorfer said.
“Typically it is some of the young offenders, mainly just because of what was stolen and the time, but we’ll keep an open mind.
“Forensically we’ve done all we can and we’ll continue with the investigation.”
Sgt Simpfendorfer said most were opportunistic crimes, where the thieves had grabbed “small items or cash ... that they can get their hands on pretty quickly”, particularly in relation to the car break-ins.
“Whoever’s doing this, we’ll work hard at catching them, but they’re looking for the open unlocked cars that make less noise rather than forcing them open. So lock your cars up.”
Any information phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.