THIEVES stole from 13 cars and took another car for a joy-ride before torching it in a spate of crime in Tallangatta, Baranduda and Wodonga this week.
And it all could have been prevented, with the 13 cars that thieves broke into having been left unlocked.
Wodonga Detective Sen-Constable Brendan Roche, pictured, said the spree started on Monday night with eight cars parked in Tallangatta streets and drive-ways in Butler Court, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Pearce Court and the surrounding neighbourhood broken in to.
Sen-Constable Roche said keys for another car were left inside an unlocked vehicle with thieves seizing the chance to take that for a joy-ride before torching it.
On the same night, he said, three cars in Baranduda were broken into.
The spree continued on Wednesday night in Wodonga with personal belongings taken from two cars in the Holmes Court area.
“Potentially the incidents are linked, but we’re considering all angles at this stage,” Sen-Constable Roche said.
Electrical items and tools were taken from some of the 13 cars and Sen-Constable Roche said it was another reminder to secure belongings.
“We just want people to be vigilant in securing their property, not leaving belongings in their vehicles and not leaving vehicles unlocked,” he said.
He urged anyone who has information to contact Wodonga police on (02) 6049 2600, and urged residents who notice people loitering in their neighbourhood to report it to police.