Police collar alleged serial thieves
By EMMA CORNFORD
A MAN and a youth have been arrested and each charged with five counts of break and enter after a lengthy pursuit at Junction Hill yesterday morning.
The man, 24, and the youth, 17, from South Grafton, were caught by police after a three and a half hour chase, involving more than a dozen officers and six police cars.
Grafton police Sergeant Chris Cummins said officers passed through backyards and over the fences of several Junction Hill properties before the 24-year-old was tackled and arrested by an officer.
"Police were patrolling the area as a pro-active measure, after a number of break-ins on the Saturday night, when they were called ... and because they were in the area they could be there in a matter of minutes," he said.
"Police attended and pursued the 17-year-old (alleged) offender and apprehended him, then further pursued the 24-year-old."
Sgt Cummins said the pair is alleged to have broken into a number of houses, before they were located and the chase began.
"Police chased them for blocks," he said. "It was quite an elaborate pursuit. It went through backyards, over fences and that kind of thing, with residents alerting police to where the suspects had been and really helping police. It was an excellent combined effort for police and the community (and) Junction Hill residents should be congratulated for their actions."
The pair, along with a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at South Grafton on Sunday, are alleged to have stolen thousands of dollars worth of property including wallets, jewellery, cash, mobile phones and other easily accessible items.
Police are also investigating the trio's connection to a spate of break and enters in the South Grafton area in recent weeks.
The 24-year-old was charged with five separate counts of break and enter and was yesterday under guard at Grafton Base Hospital complaining of shortness of breath. He will appear in court today.
The 14-year-old was charged with 10 counts related to break and enter. He was granted conditional bail on Sunday. He will face children's court today, along with the 17-year-old, who was charged with five counts of break and enter.
"At the moment we're in the process of identifying property (from the alleged Junction Hill robberies), so if anyone who has been the victim of one of these attacks could give an exact description of their property to police, that would be helpful so it can be returned," Sgt Cummins said.