A Melbourne mother-of-two has told of her terror over a gang of teenage home invaders wandering around her house while she and family were asleep upstairs.
The teen thieves made off on a crime spree in the Brighton family’s luxury cars before the gang was shot at by police in St Kilda.
Two boys aged 13 and 14 were later arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, car theft and other offences in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Now mum Emily Meredith-Smith has joined footy WAG neighbour Bec Judd’s campaign for action over the terrifying rise in crime in the wealthy Bayside suburb.
‘What are they going to do about it?’ she demanded to Daily Mail Australia. ‘We need more protection around here. It’s awful.
Melbourne mother-of-two Emily Meredith-Smith has told of her terror over a gang of teenage home invaders wandering around her house while she and family were asleep upstairs
Now mum Emily Meredith-Smith, 54, has joined the campaign for action of footy WAG neighbour Bec Judd (pictured) over the terrifying rise in crime in the wealthy Bayside suburb
‘For the first couple of days afterwards, I was just in shock. Now I’m just angry.
‘I’m told one of the boys had 13 charges out against him before he stole my car and was on his way to commit more crimes.
‘I know they’re just young kids – but why are they not being detained longer by the authorities…and where are their parents?’
CCTV footage showed the gang trying to steal another car in the street before one was caught on Ms Meredith-Smith’s doorbell cam sneaking into their home.
The four youths wandered around inside while Ms Meredith-Smith and her husband and two daughters, aged 13 and 15, slept upstairs at their home in Brighton’s Cochrane Street.
The teen thugs grabbed a handbag and the keys to the family’s Audi SQ5 and Subaru Outback before speeding off into the night around 1.30am.
One of the cars was almost out of fuel when they stole it and 50 minutes later they had to stop to refill at a St Kilda service station when a patrol car spotted them.
As police tried to make a routine check on the vehicle, the gang drove at one of the officers and knocked him down before they raced off.
Another officer opened fire on the car, with the shots smashing the rear window and hitting the bodywork, but the car didn’t stop and fled the scene.
The gang knocked down one officer and another cop opened fire on the vehicles as it fled the scene, shattering the rear window and puncturing the bodywork
The gang wandered around inside the home in Brighton’s Cochrane Street before they grabbed the keys to the family’s Audi SQ5 and Subaru Outback and sped off into the night around 1.30am. One of the cars was almost out of fuel when they stole it and 50 minutes later they had to stop to refill at a St Kilda service station when a patrol car spotted them, before one officer opened fire on the vehicle when it hit a cop and tried to flee the scene
The family fears the home invasion followed a car break-in two weeks earlier – and are now terrified the gang will come back to hit them again.
‘That’s the scariest thing – just knowing that they broke into my car and then they came back two weeks later and broke into the house,’ said Ms Meredith-Smith.
‘That feeling of not feeling safe. Thinking, “Okay, they’re probably going to come back in a month time and try again.” Who knows?
‘You just don’t feel very reassured that they’re not going to do it again.’
She said the children involved are from outside the area and travel to Brighton by train before raiding the upmarket homes.
The worried mum says crime in the area has escalated since the end of the Covid lockdowns and is now at levels never seen before in the normally quiet suburb.
‘I wouldn’t be going anywhere by myself at night now,’ she said. ‘You have to be mindful. There’s stuff going on all the time now.’
The concerns echo Bec Judd’s recent comment about the rising crime wave affecting Brighton and her war of words with Victorian premier Dan Andrews.
The incident comes after footy WAG Bec Judd spoke out about the rising crime wave affecting Brighton and her war of words with Victorian premier Dan Andrews
The home invaders targeted the family’s luxury SUV Audie SQ% like the one pictured left . They also took the family’s Subaru Outback like the one seen on the right. Police shot out the rear window of one of the stolen cars as it fled the St Kilda service station
He claimed crime statistics didn’t reflect her claims of a worsening situation in the upmarket suburb.
But latest figures shows that while overall crime is down, home invasions, robberies and even murders are at record levels in Bayside’s mansion-lined streets.
‘It’s worse than it’s ever been before,’ added Ms Meredith-Smith. ‘The police were terrific and have kept us updated every day.
‘However the local police station closed down 12 years ago and they need more high profile visible policing to keep these gangs out.
‘But I get the overwhelming feeling from Dan Andrews that if you’ve got a postcode 3186, you should be able to pay for your own security.
‘So no, I don’t feel so comforted by him.’
Latest crime figures shows that while offences overall are down, home invasions, robberies and even murders are at record levels in Bayside’s mansion-lined roads, like Brighton’s Cochrane Street, seen here
Local state Liberal MP James Newberry said the situation was now escalating out of control and needed immediate action.
‘I’m sure there has been close to 10 over the last few months,’ he said. ‘This is a serious string of home invasions by groups of people from outside the community.
‘Locals are really scared.’
Bayside Local Area Commander Inspector Cath Wilkins yesterday admitted that there ‘has been an increase in offences recently’.
But she said that while the suburb had ‘seen a number of serious incidents recently, Bayside remains an overwhelmingly safe place to live.’