A COBDEN district man involved in stealing two cars, who then refused to pull over in two police pursuits, will be charged with a range of driving offences.
The action started at 2.45pm Saturday when employees reported a man had walked in and stolen a Toyota Land Cruiser utility from a Colac business.
Police received reports about the location of the ute, which was heading west along the Princes Highway.
Acting Sergeant Graeme Fuller, of Colac police, said the driver turned off the highway onto the Cobden-Stoneyford Road.
Police started a pursuit near Scoullers Road, a couple of kilometres west of the railway crossing, but terminated the eight-minute chase approaching Cobden due to safety concerns and the man’s erratic driving. The top speed reached was only about 115km/h but the driver refused to pull over.
Police launched a second pursuit as the driver came out of Cobden on the Cobden-Warrnambool Road.
Senior Constable Greg Kew, of the Warrnambool police highway patrol unit, said that chase started at 3.20pm, lasted a couple of minutes and was also terminated after the driver refused to pull over.
The driver then dumped the utility and stole a Honda CRV about 4pm from Cobrico’s Cross Forest Road.
At that stage police had become aware of the offender’s possible identity.
The man then went to a farm house at Weerite, east of Camperdown, where he tried to steal a third vehicle about 4.30pm but was disturbed by the owner and fled in the Honda CRV.
Senior Constable Kew said the man was able to escape a police net which had been thrown over the area.
Police allege the man rammed the Honda CRV through a wooden gate at an address in Carpendeit about 6.45pm.
Although the gate was chained and padlocked, the vehicle and gate are understood to have received only minor damage.
The Honda CRV was then hidden behind a vacant building at Carpendeit, east of Cobden.
Police officers located the man at his home address in Carpendeit about 7.40pm, where he was arrested.
Senior Constable Kew said the man was expected to be charged with a range of driving offences.
“It’s a timely reminder to vehicle owners not to leave keys in their vehicles,” he said.