bandits busted

Police have charged four people following a break-in at a property at Armagh last Wednesday morning.

Property owner, Wayne Allen, was contacted around 8am by a workmate who had noticed a ute parked near his shed.

“As I approached the property, I saw the vehicle come out, and as it went past me, I noticed it didn’t have any number plates, so rang police,” Wayne said.

“This was the second time I had been robbed – my shed had been ‘visited’ overnight Saturday night when I’d been at the bull ride,” Wayne said.

“I’d had lots of gear stolen then – tools, a barbecue, batteries and also my grandfather’s WWI medal and dog tag.”

Wayne followed the vehicle at a distance as it headed towards Blyth, keeping in constant contact with police.

“They knew I was following them though, so tried to lose me by heading out on dirt roads and back tracks through Kybunga, Hoyleton and Halbury, then to Whitwarta, before getting back onto the bitumen and heading to Bowmans,” Wayne said. 

Wayne’s local knowledge helped police, who once they had a visual, took over the pursuit near Halbury, following at a safe distance.

Police had attempted to stop the Mitsubishi ute, loaded with Wayne’s property including a kayak, golf sticks, pressure cleaner and more, but it took off across a paddock.

“A lot of my gear fell off during the pursuit, with a lot of it damaged.”

While racing along back roads of Halbury, an image of the ute, with a tarp dragging along the road, was snapped by farmer, Luke Simon.

His fiancée, Dana, had been jogging along the roadside at the time, and was almost run over by the vehicle.

Once the vehicle was back on the bitumen, it headed towards Port Wakefield but turned into Bowmans industrial estate instead.

The vehicle pulled behind a shed where workers confronted the occupants.

Two passengers alighted the vehicle and ‘took off’, while the driver and another passenger sped off, heading south.

“I hadn’t gone into the worksite, and saw the ute speed off, so thought they had gotten away,” Wayne said.

However, with the assistance of workers from the industrial estate, police conducted a search and located the pair, and male and female, a short time later.

“When I found out they’d caught two of them, I was really happy,” Wayne said.

The two charged then were:

A 23-year-old man from Evanston who was charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass, theft and breach of bail.

He was remanded in custody to reappear in the Clare Magistrates Court on May 14; and

A 16-year-old girl, charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass and theft, who was bailed to appear in the Clare Youth Court on May 14.

Just before 2am on Thursday, Nuriootpa Police located the Mitsubishi ute and the wanted driver at Kapunda and arrested him without incident.

The 23-year-old Kapunda man was charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass and theft and he too was bailed to appear in the  Clare Magistrates Court also on May 14.

He is also expected to be further charged with dangerous driving to escape police pursuit and his utility will be impounded for 28 days.

After investigations, the fourth man has also now been arrested, and charged with aggravated serious criminal trespass.

Fortunately, Wayne’s precious WWI medal and dog tag have been returned to him, and is still awaiting police investigations to see if any of his other belongings will be returned.

“It’s not a nice feeling – and is very annoying as we are still cleaning up from the first robbery, and trying to work out what was taken that time,” he said.

Wayne advises everyone to ensure they take photos of ALL of their property for insurance purposes.

“I’ve told my workmates to do that, as you need proof for insurance purposes, especially if you don’t have receipts or dockets.”

Wayne said he couldn’t thank the police involved enough.

“They did a fantastic job,” Wayne said.

Police also thanked members of the public who assisted, including the workers at the Bowmans industrial area.