Following investigations by detectives in Victoria, three people have been arrested and are facing charges over the theft of hundreds of empty kegs, worth tens of thousands of dollars.   

Authorities have been investigating the pilfering of more than 200 empty kegs from outside pubs in suburbs across Melbourne over the past six months, and possibly longer.

A new keg is valued at around $150-$200, putting the total of the theft at over $30k.

Kegs are typically made of either stainless steel or aluminium, and weigh about 12 kilograms when empty.

Detective Sergeant Ryan Forde from the Yarra branch posed the opportunistic thieves were likely targeting the empties to make cash.

The current value for the scrap metals would make an empty keg worth only $10-12, and scrap metal yards may need to be complicit, given the easily recognised nature of a keg.

At least 10 establishments have reported being affected, in Northcote, Hawthorn, Collingwood, Fitzroy North, Coburg and Carlton North, with 60 pinched in Reservoir, and 80 from pubs in Carlton. Hawkers brewery, in Reservoir, told the ABC it estimated its losses from the thefts at nearly $100,000.

Police were only alerted to the crimes in recent months, and appealed for other affected venues to come forward.

Raids were subsequently conducted at multiple properties around Melbourne. Sixty kegs were found in late February at a property in Dallas, and police also executed searches in Oak Park and Epping, and at several metal recycling businesses.

A 34-year-old man, a 32-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman have been arrested.

They face charges relating to trespass, theft, and dealing in stolen goods, and will front court in August.

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