Theft leads to hit-run suspect

THE theft of cigarettes from a Colac service station has led police to a man wanted over the hit-run death of a Melbourne cyclist.

Sergeant Dan Willsmore of Colac said a series of chance incidents resulted in the apprehension of a 33-year-old man on Wednesday night at Belmont.

Sgt Willsmore said a man driving a white Hyundai van allegedly approached the BP petrol station on the Princes Highway in Colac West at 5.45pm Wednesday.

“He stole a packet of cigarettes and then proceeded to drive off,” he said.

“The attendant called police to report the incident and gave us the registration of the vehicle, which has then come up as a stolen vehicle.”

Colac police searched the area for the man and attended the scene to view security footage of the theft.

Sgt Willsmore said the service station attendant called the service station manager “who happened to be travelling on the Geelong road near Moriac”.

“And the owner of the BP actually passed the stolen vehicle on the Geelong highway,” he said.

“We’ve called Geelong, and the traffic management unit there have intercepted the vehicle in Geelong.”

The man’s arrest came only hours before the 45-year-old victim of Tuesday’s hit-run died at the Alfred Hospital.

A silver Daewoo sedan hit the cyclist on Mount Dandenong Road at Ringwood.

Police found the burnt-out sedan in a nearby hotel car park a short time later.

Sergeant Brendan Butland of Geelong said Geelong police arrested the Kilsyth man on Wednesday night in relation to the hit-run.

The Kilsyth man appeared at a Geelong court yesterday and was remanded in custody until a Melbourne hearing on May 26 to face a total of 12 charges.

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