A 19-YEAR-OLD Portland man has been charged with committing breaks-ins across the south-west which netted goods worth more than $20,000.
Detective Senior Constable Perry Lattin, of the Portland police crime investigation unit, said the man was arrested on Thursday, interviewed, charged and bailed to appear in the Portland Magistrate Court next month.
He has been charged with theft of a vehicle and multiple counts or burglary and theft.
Detective Senior Constable Lattin said police would talk to a number of other people in coming days who may be able to assist with the investigation.
"We would request that anyone with information or who has been approached to buy jewellery contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Portland police station," he said.
Burglars left a trail of destruction across the south-west, hitting four businesses early last Sunday and causing thousands of dollars damage.
Police suspected the break-ins at businesses in Port Fairy, Mortlake and Warrnambool were reported to be the work of the same offenders.
The crimes were first detected when the thieves triggered an alarm at Elders in Mortlake at 4.15am on Sunday.
The offenders forced their way in through the front door and then gained access to a safe, making off with between $3000 and $4000.
They then travelled to Warrnambool, breaking into Dominos at Centro about 5am.
Entry was gained by smashing a section of a glass door, again an alarm was triggering and the thieves escaped with only a few soft drinks.
At 5.15am a similar break-in happened at the Morriss Road Milk Bar, where the offenders attempted to steal cigarettes but were unsuccessful.
Another alarm was triggered at Leske's Jewellers in Port Fairy at 5.40am when a window was smashed and a jewellery display removed.
Police said the offenders were believed to be travelling in a white dual cab ute, which was reported stolen on the previous Friday from Portland and was recovered last Sunday morning in the Portland area.