AN extensive search yesterday failed to find a burglar who at first was feared to have drowned after he scaled a fence and leapt into a creek in Wangaratta.
Police have since turned their investigations to the likelihood the man was able to get out of the bitterly cold water, making his escape.
Wangaratta detectives suggested to uniform police a possible suspect for the break-in, though when they contacted him he denied any involvement in the crime.
Police and State Emergency Service volunteers began an immediate search along the banks of the Three Mile Creek after the incident was reported by a Halandra Avenue resident on Thursday night.
The resident had disturbed the burglar before he was able to steal anything from the house.
A second search of the creek and along the bank started at first light yesterday and continued to about midday.
This was then followed by a search of the Three Mile Creek and the creek bed yesterday afternoon by the Victoria Police search and rescue unit.
Sgt Christine Bosely said late yesterday that the search began from where the unknown man went into the water right up to Williams Road.
“Nothing was located,” she said.
“We are confident that there is no one in that section of that river.”
Sgt Bosely said the Wangaratta CIU was continuing investigations into possible suspects for the burglary.
“If anyone sees any suspicious people walking around in that area, or had seen that (on Thursday night), they can contact us,” she said.
Sgt Bosely was working on Thursday night and was at the scene soon after the report was made about the break-in and the man going into the creek.
“I noticed when I was at the command post there were people in that area walking their dogs at that time of the night,” she said.
Sgt Bosely said there were still people out for walks in the area a couple of hours after the attempted burglary, which happened about 7pm.
Sgt Steve Beavis said earlier that the burglar was aged about 25.
“The suspect has taken off towards the Three Mile Creek and then jumped in,” he said.
“The witness has then seen the suspect in the creek through using his torch.”
Sgt Beavis said the burglar’s head then disappeared under the water.
“That was the last that we’ve seen of him,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact Wangaratta police on (03) 5723 0888 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.