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Echuca pair charged over boat theft

By Ivy Jensen

UPDATE: A 37-year-old Echuca man has been charged with two counts of theft of boat, two counts of theft of boat trailer, two counts of bringing stolen goods into Victoria, two counts of dealing with proceeds of crime and handling stolen goods.

A 44-year-old Echuca man has been charged with four counts of handling stolen goods and dealing with proceeds of crime.

Both men were bailed to appear at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on March 3.
A 29-year-old Echuca woman was issued a caution notice for drug related offences.


THREE people are in custody after four Malibu wake boats, one belonging to Supercar champion Mark Winterbottom, and multiple other vehicles stolen in a $700,000 heist were found in Echuca today.

Detectives from Cobram, Wangaratta and Echuca criminal investigation units raided properties in Wharparilla Drive, Bilkey Court and Matong Rd this morning, arresting two men and a woman and seizing four Malibu boats, two Range Rovers, a Mercedes, Jayco Caravan, two boats and an amount of cash and cocaine.

A 37-year-old Echuca man was arrested, as well as a 45-year-old Echuca man at a business on Bilkey Court and a 28-year-old woman at a private home on Wharparilla Drive.

They are in custody at Echuca police station where they are being interviewed by police.

No charges have been laid yet.

"It's too early to say what they will be charged with," Detective Sergeant Marcus Boyd of Cobram CIU said.

He said the boats and vehicles were seized on the basis of being stolen or used in commission of offences.

Winterbottom's 2018 Malibu Wakesetter, worth more than $130,000, was stolen from Bundalong between 10am and 1pm on Tuesday. It was found at a shed in Matong Rd.

The offenders cut the tow hitch lock and fled the scene towing it with a white Toyota Landcruiser ute.

Winterbottom issued an appeal for help through Facebook, stating the boat had been seen early Wednesday being towed by a dual cab on the Numurkah-Katamatite Rd towards Echuca.

"Mark is aware we found his boat and he's very happy,"  Det. Sgt Boyd said.

"We're holding it for forensic testing and will make arrangements to return it to him when that's completed." 

Another Malibu Wakesetter was stolen from Bundalong overnight Wednesday, while the other two were stolen from from properties in Mulwala on January 27.

Inquiries are still ongoing in relation to the ownership of the caravan and the two other boats, believed to have been stolen from NSW. 

"We had a team of detectives working on this and the search warrants were based on information received from the public in the last 48 hours," Det. Sgt Boyd said.

"It's a great result."