Eaton crime fears: stealing, torching cars, burglary

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald

A week of crime in Eaton has left the community frustrated and calling for action, with one resident saying she did not feel safe at night after witnessing an attack.

Australind police acting officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Mike Bickford said the incidents — which spanned September 19 to 23 when the alleged offenders were arrested and charged — involved a group of four boys who allegedly torched a stolen car and committed burglary, among a string of other offences.

“It is clear that the Eaton community has felt a fair bit of tension as a result of these people,” he said.

It’s been a series of offences by a select small group of offenders, but they’ve been addressed and we’ve dealt with them.

Sgt Bickford

Sgt Bickford said three of them had been dealt with and police were actively seeking the whereabouts of a fourth suspect who had been identified.

Police charged a 15-year-old from Gosnells with five offences.

A 15-year-old boy from Eaton was involved in all offences and pleaded guilty to 11 charges — including stealing three motor vehicles, aggravated home burglary and criminal damage by fire — when he appeared in Bunbury Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The 15-year-old stole two cars from an Eaton family’s home on September 19, plus belongings worth $3000, the court was told.

Between September 22 to 23, he stole and destroyed a car, which was the property of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bunbury.

He was remanded in custody until he reappears next month.

Torched car in Eaton.
Camera IconTorched car in Eaton. Credit: USHER Susan [PD82522]/Police Media

One concerned resident said on September 21 she witnessed a group of seven teenagers “punching and kicking” a man in his 20s outside the Eaton Tavern.

“He seemed to be quite hurt, he was limping,” she said.

She said she had lived in Eaton her whole life and found teenagers were targeting the community.

“It’s getting beyond a joke ... I don’t know what you can do,” she said.

We don’t feel comfortable walking home alone anymore.

Eaton resident

Sgt Bickford said police responded to the incident and there was no evidence to suggest this group was linked to the previous weekend’s crimes, however, further information was being sought from the tavern.

The Leschenault Sporting Association was targeted when thieves broke into the pavilion in the early hours of Sunday morning and stole a large amount of alcohol.

Sgt Bickford emphasised the importance of residents reporting suspicious activity to police to help them tackle crime.

“Crime is a confronting community issue and police encourage the reporting of suspicious behaviour,” Sgt Bickford said.

“If you see something you’re unsure about, please call police.

“Social media is not a reliable reporting mechanism in these instances.

“That information to police helps us paint a picture of what is happening.

“What appears to be a minor thing in its own right, may have more significance when taken into context by your local police station.”

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