A stolen car was used during a crime spree which targeted the Nullawarre and Peterborough stores and speedway on Sunday.
Burglars stole car keys from a house in Panmure while the residents slept inside sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Acting Sergeant Lana Roberts, of Warrnambool police, said it was believed the house, which is located on the Princes Highway in the township, may have been unlocked at the time of the aggravated burglary.
A 2007 Toyota Landcruiser stolen from the property was later used during a break-in at McDowall’s Friendly Grocer Store in Nullawarre where cigarettes were stolen.
Acting Sergeant Roberts said it was believed the same vehicle was used during an attempted break-in at a shop in Peterborough.
She said a window was smashed but nothing stolen.
About 3.30am, the ute was used to ram the pit gates at Premier Speedway.
Acting Sergeant Roberts said a lock was broken but nothing stolen.
“Spotlights appeared to have disturbed them,” she said.
The ute was found dumped on Sunday morning on Swinton Street after the offenders tried to drive it into the Merri River.
She said the vehicle, which was not badly damaged, was found on the river bank near the Swinton Street bridge.
The incident follows a police warning last week for car and home owners to lock up after a recent spike in vehicle thefts.
Last weekend, four cars were stolen in Warrnambool and two of them set alight.
Earlier this month, thieves smashed through the front door of service stations in Timboon and Cobden and stole cigarettes and lighters.