Two young Warrnambool men have been charged with stealing a $50,000 company ute which was then torched.
Warrnambool police First Constable Nick Jones said uniform officers and detectives from the crime investigation unit found keys to the $50,000 white Toyota HiLux dual cab utility as well as a Uzi-style gel gun blaster and cannabis at a Wanstead Street house about 9.30am on Tuesday.
The ute was stolen from a caravan park in Warrnambool's Simpson Street on June 17 and used to do burnouts at Our Lady Help Of Christians Primary School in east Warrnambool, damaging the school's oval surface.
Police will allege a 21-year-old then dropped off the 18-year-old before taking the vehicle to Rodgers Road, north of the Bunnings store, where it was torched.
The ute was valued at $50,000 and had $20,000 worth of tools and work gear onboard.
Both men were charged with the theft of the ute, possessing cannabis. The 21-year-old was also charged with arson and the 18-year-old with possessing an imitation firearm (gel blaster).
The 21-year-old has also been charged in relation to allegedly torching another car in Warrnambool on April 10.
That white 2007 Ford Falcon station wagon, worth $2000, was parked in a driveway close to a home when it was allegedly deliberately set on fire.
Police said at the time it was fortunate the home, which had a sleeping family, did not catch fire.
Another charge relates to breaking into a 2013 Mitsubishi utility and stealing tools.
The men have been remanded in custody to appear in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court for a bail/remand hearing.
Constable Jones said crucial information from the public suggested the keys from the work ute were hanging up as a trophy in the Wanstead Street home.
"That information was vital," he said.
"It is only with that sort of information and cooperation from the public that police can best do our job. We are grateful for that information."
The first constable requested anyone with information about offending contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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