Police in Wyndham, Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong are warning residents to keep their doors and windows locked.
The advice comes after an increase in incidents across the three municipalities, in which offenders have entered homes through unlocked front doors and windows.
Divisional Investigation and Response Inspector Rhonda Brown said: “Local intelligence shows there has been an increase in incidents in recent weeks where offenders have entered homes through unlocked front doors and windows to commit burglaries or steal vehicles.”
Inspector Brown also said that Wayward Taskforce detectives “have worked hard to investigate a series of six burglaries that occurred between 19 December and 30 January across Wyndham, Brimbank and Maribyrnong and are committed to holding those responsible to account”.
“A group of male teens are believed to have entered homes at night while occupants were asleep to steal keys, cash, credit cards and electronic goods,” Inspector Brown said.
“A number of vehicles were also stolen after they obtained keys from inside the homes.”
Taskforce Wayward was established during 2018, to monitor youth offenders involved in aggravated burglaries and home invasions who were deemed at high risk of re-offending.
Inspector Brown said that detectives arrested eight male teenagers in Albanvale on Sunday, February 2 in relation to the theft of a motor vehicle in Albanvale.
“Four of those males – a 14-year-old from Hoppers Crossing, a 14-year-old from Albanvale, a 15-year-old from Croydon and a 17-year-old from Deer Park – were remanded and are expected to be charged in relation to the burglaries,” Inspector Brown said.
“They will appear at court at a later date.”
The inspector said that police were concerned about a trend of burglaries involving “opportunistic break-ins where homes and cars are left unlocked”.
“Residents are urged to maintain their home security, always locking their front doors and windows, even if they are home throughout the day or night,” she said.
“Remember, if you’re a victim of crime and you require urgent police attendance, always call Triple Zero (000).”
Anyone with information about the burglaries is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.