Shocking start to the year

A WANGARATTA family’s New Year’s Eve celebrations were marred when an Albury man allegedly broke into their home, stole their car and crashed it.

Wangaratta Detective Sen-Constable Neal Thompson said the family were out celebrating when an Albury man, 20, allegedly broke into their Cribbes Road home by forcing open a locked side window after 9pm on Tuesday.

The family’s car, computer and other contents were stolen.

Sen-Constable Thompson said the Ford Falcon was taken on a joy-ride that came to abrupt end at 4am yesterday when the car hit a kerb and bounced into the median strip.

Neighbours phoned triple-0 and police arrested the uninjured man at the scene.

The man was charged with burglary, theft of a car and a minor assault relating to a witness at the scene of the crash.

He was bailed to appear at the Wangaratta Magistrates Court at a later date.

Sen-Constable Thompson said it served as a reminder that residents can take simple and cheap steps to decrease the likelihood of being broken into, particularly during the holiday period when burglars seize on the chance to break into an unoccupied home.

He encouraged residents to draw the curtains on their windows and hide valuables such as computers away from the prying eyes of thieves who often check through windows before breaking in.

“If there’s nothing there that’s obvious they might move on, you need to be vigilant in that respect,” he said.

He said many people don’t realise a gardening tool left out in a yard or in an unlocked shed can be the means for burglars to break in to a home via a window or door.

“All that’s needed is a little bit of leverage and you’re in,” he said.

“And crooks aren’t smart enough to take their own gear but they’re smart enough to find yours.”

Sen-Constable Thompson said one of the most important things residents can do is talk to their neighbours and ask them to keep an eye on their home, collect mail and report to police when they see a stranger lurking.

“Be active in knowing if your neighbours are going away or if you’re going away, let your neighbours know,” he said.

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