Police believe a vehicle stolen from Cranbourne South may have been used to ram-raid a Pearcedale hardware store in the early hours of Friday 22 September.
Police believe a ute identified as a 2013 model Ford Ranger, graphite grey in colour, was stolen sometime between 11pm on 2 September and 5am on 3 September, during a residential burglary on Sweet Wattle Drive, Cranbourne South.
Two men are alleged to have broken into Pearcedale Hardware after ripping the front doors off the Baxter-Tooradin Road store, using a four-wheel drive, just after 2am.
The men then entered the store and allegedly stole a number of items which included whipper-snippers, blower vacs and chainsaws.
Owner of Pearcedale Hardware store Adrian Scialpi said his store was extensively damaged with damaged tipped to top $7000.
“We are really, really disappointed that the damaged that they caused in the shop. Not only what they stole, but the damage was quite extensive,” he said, adding a door frame was ripped from the rear brick wall.
“They’ve ruined doors. They’ve ruined stock fixtures. We’ll probably have to write off about $2000 worth of stock because now it’s unsaleable. And that’s on top of a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of stock they’ve actually stolen – mainly power tools and power gardening.
“The mess that they made in the store was incredible. A lot of the shelving they tipped over to break in was full of paints and varnishes and they’ve hit the deck and exploded.”
Mr Scialpi said a lot of stock was coated in varnish and would have to be thrown in the dumpster.
“We’re going to have to write it all off. It wasn’t a nice thing to get woken up with in the middle of the night.”
He said he received a call just after 2am from his security company and arrived at his store just before 2.30am, adding: “They had already gone – the damage was done.”
“I think they spent about three minutes in the shop in total. They weren’t here for long. They caused an enormous amount of damage.
“We’re on the way to getting it fixed. We managed to trade a bit today. The damaged is at the back end of the store so we can still function at the front, but we’ll work into the night just to get everything tidied up and get all the damaged stock out so at least tomorrow (Saturday 23 September) we’re ready to trade.”
Mr Scialpi said he may be “out of pocket” for some expenses but hoped his insurance company would help him. “If they cover us for the damaged stock we’re happy. That’s all we ask of them.”
He said the store was broken into almost a decade ago.
“Since then we’ve had a really, really good run. Just got a bit of a shock overnight when this happened.”
He said it was hard enough to get ahead as a small business.
“We work our guts out to make a living and these guys with absolutely no regard just do what they do.
“I know I’m not only speaking for myself but there’s literally hundreds of thousands of small businesses out there that have been exposed to this sort of criminal behaviour.
“It’s happened multiple times every day and every night. What do we do to stop it? We are starting to get really sick of it.”
Cardinia Crime Investigation Unit detectives believe the stolen Ford ute was also involved in a burglary at Kooweerup early the same morning. Investigators have been told two men in a ute drove through the front entrance of a Station Street liquor store about 3.50am.
The men tried to break into a cigarette cabinet but were unsuccessful, however they took two cash tills and a number of cigarette lighters.
The pair then fled in the vehicle, which has since been identified as a 2013 model Ford Ranger in a “graphite grey” colour with a front bull bar, snorkel and spotlights.
Police believe the vehicle may be bearing stolen plates ACD798 and have released an image in the hope someone recognises it and may be able to provide information on its whereabouts.
Both men were masked and wearing light-coloured workmen’s pants, boots, gloves, zip-up jackets and caps at the time of the incident.
One of the males had a heavy build and the other, a medium build.
Investigators have also released images of two men they believe may be able to assist with their inquiries.
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
A Dandenong support service says parking restrictions are putting staff and clients at risk. Greater Dandenong Council accepted a letter from Catholic... Read More »