Terrified residents in Melbourne’s north were woken by the sound of breaking glass as three thugs smashed into their homes and stole their cars, jewellery and money.
The violent trio, believed to be members of the notorious Apex gang, used large rocks to break through the windows of two separate family homes.
The residents, who did not want to be identified, said the men were of African appearance and demanded the keys to their luxury vehicles.
“My wife and I were woken to the sound of smashing glass,” one Essendon man told 7 News.
“I yelled out ‘who's there?’ We were just told ‘don't effing move’.”
The couple locked themselves in the ensuite as the gang relentlessly tried to attack them.
‘It was terrifying. I was leaning up against the door. They were trying to open it while we were there,” the man said.
“If you can't feel safe in your own home, I mean, where can you feel safe really?”
The thugs stole their grey 2011 Volkswagen, a purse and five watches worth about $20,000
Just over an hour later and four kilometres away, it’s believed the same men struck again.
Like the previous attack, a rock was used to smash their way inside.
“It was an adrenalin rush,” a male occupant of the second household told 7 News. “I've walked out. I've got two young kids, three and six in the house, and these guys have smashed their way in.”
“All I wanted was them to just get out of our house,” his wife added. “I would never think someone, three people would smash windows when you're sleeping and come into your house.
The father armed himself with a cricket bat as one of the men stepped forward.
“It was a kid. He would have been 15 or 16 I reckon with his hand out saying ‘give me the keys, give me the keys’,” he said.
This time, the men took off in a 2015 Holden Club Sport Sedan.
Police noticed the distinctive car as the thieves drove through nearby Keilor East but said they weren’t yet aware that it was stolen.
When the alert came through several minutes later, the vehicle was long gone.
Detective Senior Constable Chris Hussey described the crimes as “horrific”.
“I couldn't imagine anything more frightening to be honest, someone coming into your house late at night and confronting you like that,” he told reporters.
As repairs have started on both houses, police are continuing to search for the suspects.
Anyone with information is urged to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.
News break – July 6