$12,000 theft a blow to men’s shed

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Like starting over: Graeme Morris (in front) David Warne, John Whalley, Phill Nash, Greg Rosewarne, Hank Van Daale, Neil Stewart and David Christianson in their workshop without tools – or security cameras. Picture: Yanni

DROMANA Men’s Shed members are reeling after tools worth $12,000 were stolen from their Pier Street premises last week.

Club vice-president Graeme Morris said the intruders may have cased the building as they were able to quickly disable CCTV cameras and even run off with the monitor – foiling attempts to identify them.

The thefts occurred on Saturday or Sunday night, 23-24 June. Members were alerted by a woman walking her dog who saw the door open and raised the alarm on Monday morning.

Mr Morris said the thieves caused extensive damage while gaining entry, bending steel doors with a crow bar and smashing door locks. A shipping container was also broken into and ransacked.

The burglars turned off power to the shed before embarking on an hour-long stealing spree.

They went from bench to bench, unscrewing and dismantling tools and equipment – electric and manual – before loading them into a wheelie bin which they pushed across the Nepean Highway overpass to a getaway car up to six times each way. A neighbour found the bin the next day on the other side of Nepean Highway.

Detectives from Mornington Peninsula CIU who are investigating the burglary were given a list over four foolscap pages of missing tools – with possibly more to come when the club’s 70 members do an audit.

“Every time we start looking we find more things missing,” Mr Morris said.

Some is high-end equipment, such as a nail-gun generator and Hitachi drop saw, but also missing are electric planes, belt sanders, clamps, biscuit cutters, drills, batteries and chargers, compressor leads, spray painting guns, hand saws, hammers and myriad other items still being assessed.

“We’ve got to replace everything now,” Mr Morris said. “We’ve got to check our insurance policy and, of course, pay the $1000 excess before we can claim anything.”

Mr Morris praised the staff at Bunnings Rosebud who donated a $300 drop saw and $200 drill as well as batteries and a charger. “They were so generous,” he said.

While the burglary is being investigated, Mr Morris said he would lobby members for $20 each to pay the insurance excess and get their recovery back on track. “Everyone’s in favour of it,” he said.

The club will now install new, tamper-proof CCTV equipment, high up and protected by a steel cage.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Leading Senior Constable Gary Emery on 5978 1300 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 3 July 2018

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