Five teenagers suspected of being Apex gang members have been arrested after a series of violent home invasions and car thefts in Melbourne The youths, aged between 16 and 19, were arrested on Saturday night, though two of them have since been released without charge.
The arrests came after two homes in Ormond and Brighton East were broken into during the early hours of Saturday morning, a police spokeswoman said.
Residents at both homes were then allegedly assaulted by a group of men. In Ormond, a house of six international students was targeted. The occupants were left battered and bruised after the violent home invasion.
One of the victims, who did not wish to be identified, said he was asleep in bed when the gang broke in through a back window. They were reportedly armed with a hammer and a metal rod.
“When I lie on the bed, they kicked me and punched me and I feel painful and got my phone,” the man told Seven News.
“After that I rushed to the windows and see my car and my car have been driven away.”
Hours later, police recovered two stolen cars – a BMW and Honda CR-V – as well as stolen mobile phones and a computer during raids in Cranbourne and Hampton Park.
Two men are facing charges of aggravated burglary, assault, theft of a motor vehicle, handling stolen goods and possessing proceeds of a crime.
The pair faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Sunday.
A third teen, aged 17, is facing the same five charges and will appear in a children’s court at a later date.
The two men who were released without charge were aged 18 and 16.
The Apex gang was formed in the city’s south-eastern suburbs more than 18 months ago but came to wider public attention after it was linked to a riot at the Moomba Festival in March. Taskforce Tense, which arrested the five men this weekend, was established last year to target the gang’s activities.