Detectives in Victoria are investigating the theft of more 200 empty kegs from outside pubs in suburbs of inner-Melbourne.
Opportunistic thieves have been swiping the empties throughout the past five months, and possibly longer.
Each keg unit is valued at about $150, making the collective theft more than $30k.
Yarra detective Sergeant Ryan Forde suggests the bandits are either selling the empty kegs as scrap, or using them for “some other nefarious means”.
Police are working closely with the pubs affected to investigate the incidents, in an attempt to identify the culprits.
“It is clear they are targeting empty kegs to make cash,” says Forde. “They are oblivious to the detrimental effect stealing kegs has on pubs and breweries.”
To date at least 10 establishments have been hit, in Northcote, Hawthorn, Collingwood, Fitzroy North, Coburg and Carlton North, with 60 pinched in Reservoir, and 80 from pubs in Carlton.
A 50-litre keg weighs approximately 12 kilograms when empty. They are typically made of either stainless steel or aluminium.
The current value for these scrap metals makes an empty keg worth only $10-12.
A scrap metal yard may need to be complicit in the petty crime, given the unmistakable nature of a keg.
Police report they have only just been alerted to the offenses, which had gradually become something of a pattern.
Authorities believe there have been more incidents across Melbourne, and urge any operators to report if they too have lost kegs recently.
It is hoped there have been witnesses – seeing someone “drag off kegs” in the middle of the night. Anyone with information, or dashcam or CCTV footage, is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or file a confidential report online.