Police are continuing to hunt a large group of African men following a violent crime spree which included two assaults, home invasions, a police pursuit and robbery last Thursday night.
The first incident occurred about 9.30pm when a car pulled up beside a 17-year-old boy walking along Argyle Way in Taylors Hill.
A male got out of the vehicle and struck the boy to the back of his legs with what is believed to be a baseball bat.
The victim ran before a second male offender got out of the car. The boy was chased by both men, pushed to the ground and assaulted before the offenders fled in a waiting vehicle.
A short time later four males smashed through the glass door of a house on Caledonian Crescent in Hillside.
The 59-year-old female occupant was forced into the front room of the property and was slapped across the face, leaving her with cuts and bruises.
A further 10 males then entered the premises and began ransacking the house. A number of electrical items and car keys were stolen before all offenders left.
Victoria Police Commander Russell Barrett described the incident as horrendous.
“This is incredibly concerning, abhorrent, thuggish behaviour by people who have no apparent care for the rights and wellbeing of fellow citizens,” Commander Barrett said.
Less than an hour later, at 12.15am, a 16-year-old boy walking near the area of Noble Banks Drive in Cairnlea was knocked to the ground by three or four males who then kicked and punched him before taking his phone.
Just after 12.30am four occupants of a house on Coleridge Drive in Delahey heard a large crack as a window beside their door was smashed.
Three males forced entry via the garage and entered the house, however the occupants managed to arm themselves and the offenders fled after taking a mobile phone.
A short time later police detected a stolen car believed to be involved in the incidents on St Albans Road.
Commander Barrett said police attempted to intercept the vehicle on Ballarat Road in Sunshine before initiating a pursuit.
“Police engaged in a pursuit, which continued until the stolen car crashed a short time later,” he said. “This was followed by a foot pursuit where the offenders managed to evade police.”
The string of incidents come amid heightened concerns surrounding youth gang crime, however Commander Barrett said police were determined to put an end to such behaviour.
“We take this type of behaviour very seriously,” he said. “We have a dedicated task force out in the western suburbs and they have the support of the anti-gang squad who are currently working with them. Our intent is to arrest these people and lock them up.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.