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A Mid North Coast Police District strike force investigating a recent string of property crime offences is ongoing as officers urge residents to be vigilant.
More than a dozen people aged between 13 and 46 have been arrested as part of Strike Force Kinnereth, which was established by the Mid North Coast Police District in October.
They have been charged with 33 offences including break and enters, drug possession, domestic violence offences, stolen vehicles, domestic violence related breaches, weapons possession and stolen vehicles.
This comes after the Port Macquarie News ran a series of stories detailing the community's concerns after cars were stolen from residents' homes while they slept in August.
This was followed by a police warning detailing the young age of offenders participating in a "potentially lethal" TikTok car theft trend last month (October).
Mid North Coast Police District Crime Manager Inspector Peter O'Reilly, said police believe there are "common links with the people involved" in the car thefts that occurred in the Lighthouse Beach area in Port Macquarie over the past two months.
"We're concerned about the age of some of these offenders who are driving stolen cars at high speeds and putting themselves and the community in danger," he said.
"They are also entering residences armed which is a concern for police."
Strike Force Kinnereth is ongoing, with the possibility of further arrests.
"We're trying to work with the community and we encourage people to come forward and help us," Insp O'Reilly said.
"If your nephews, children, friends or family are involved, we are encouraging you to work with police to help stop this type of offending."
The Mid North Coast Police District has been assisted by specialist services including the Dog Squad, Forensic Unit and the Highway Patrol Unit in the investigation.
Crime prevention is key
Insp. O'Reilly said most of the crimes have been opportunistic and he encourages residents to ensure their valuables are not left in plain sight.
"It's not victim blaming, but we are reminding residents to not leave the remote controllers for their garages in their cars," he said.
"We're also seeing people leaving doors unlocked and the offenders are trying door handles and breaking in that way."
Insp O'Reilly said police will continue to target these types of offences.
"It is deeply disturbing to see offenders as young as 13 coming under police notice for serious offences," he said.
"People have a right to feel safe in their own homes, and for members of their own community to rob and steal from them is unbelievable.
"We will continue targeting those individuals who want to break the law."
Insp O'Reilly said the people who have been charged as part of Strike Force Kinnereth are now before the courts.
"They have been charged with a range of offences including domestic violence, drug related offences and break and enters," he said. "Some of the young people charged are being dealt with under the Young Offenders Act."
As inquiries continue, anyone with information about offences being committed around the area are urged to contact Port Macquarie Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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