| 10.08,18. 07:27 PM |
Teens charged over series of carjackings, robberies in Melbourne's south-east
Photo: One of the youths is led away by police from a home in Melbourne's south-east. (Supplied: Victoria Police)
Four teens have been arrested by police over a series of crimes, including carjackings, assaults and robberies, in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, while another 10 people are being questioned.
Victoria Police said they had arrested 14 people in the last two days after executing warrants at 10 homes in a number of suburbs, including Cranbourne, Pakenham, Dandenong South and Narre Warren South.
They were part of an investigation into a series of alleged crimes that took place between July 26 and August 7, police said.
Four teens — a 17-year-old boy from Cranbourne, a 14-year-old boy from Pakenham, a 17-year-old boy from Dandenong North, and a 19-year-old man from Officer — have been charged.
The charges include armed robbery, aggravated carjacking, intentionally causing injury, theft of a motor vehicle, possessing a prohibited weapon, handling stolen goods and unlicensed driving.
The ten others are still being interviewed.
Investigators recovered two stolen vehicles and seized imitation fire arms and a military assault rifle.
The weapons were all found in the bedroom of one home.
Detective Inspector Shayne Pannell said of those arrested were known to police, and many were living at home with their parents.
"They're causing fear, unnecessary fear and weapons are being used to enhance that fear. And it's just got to stop," he said.
He said the "million dollar question" was trying to figure out what was driving these types of crime across Melbourne.
"We take them very seriously. There's nothing more frightening than what's occurred to people — having your car jacked or invaded in your home — and we put all resources … into this investigation," Detective Inspector Pannell said.
He said the group knew each other socially though things like school and sport, but were not an organised gang.
"I've been a police officer for quite some years and there has been a change in the type of offending, but also a change in our approach and tactics," he said.
"There is a level of organisation amongst groups who do these sorts of offences. The fact they commit these crimes ad-hoc but collectively, gives you that sense of organisation.
"They're a collective group of individuals who know each other. The older ones are not necessarily controlling the younger ones. It's still a matter for investigation."
Detective Inspector Pannell said he expected further arrests would be made next week.
"We've seized a number of weapons today, some are imitation, some are real. One was a military-style weapon which we'll be sending to forensics for testing," he said.