Rural thefts anger victims

AN Ipswich man’s retirement dreams have been tarnished by the brazen yet seemingly well-organised theft of $15,000 worth of property from his country house.

Larry Reid said he discovered the theft of two generators, solar panels, batteries, a pressure cleaner and power tools after returning to check on the property near Boonah in January.

He has since discovered that he wasn’t the only one to fall victim, with police investigating a series of similar thefts on rural properties in the Scenic Rim and Brisbane Valley areas.

“My wife and I don’t feel safe moving out there now – not now that this has happened,” Mr Reid said.

“You can’t build there because once you leave anything behind these crooks will clean you out.”

Mr Reid said he had since spoken to neighbours who had also lost machinery to theft.

It was thought an organised group of thieves was responsible, however, police have so far charged only one person and Mr Reid’s case remains unsolved.

The thieves must have been using some heavy machinery of their own, as one of the diesel generators stolen from the Reid’s property weighed 400kg.

Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch’s Detective Senior Sergeant Mick Trezise said one man had been charged with being involved in eight of the break-and-enter offences.

When police arrived at the accused man’s house, he was allegedly keeping property which had been stolen from several rural properties. He will face trial at Ipswich District Court on May 4 and is out on bail.

Mr Reid said he would not sleep easily knowing other offenders were still out there.

“For me it’s not even about the gear that I’ve lost, it’s about our security,” he said.

“There’s no phone reception out there so it’s almost as if you have to carry a weapon if you want to protect yourself – and I don’t want to do that.

“That’s what I pay taxes for; I expect a bit of protection from this sort of crime.”

Ipswich Crime Prevention Unit officer in charge Sergeant Nadine Webster advised rural property owners to inform only trusted neighbours of their absence.

Sgt Webster also recommended engraving or using data dot technology on property so it could be easily traced back.

“Don’t leave machinery items with keys ... disable them from operating and don’t leave them where they can be seen from the road,” she said.

“Keep external fuel tanks, pumps and electric fence units secured and locked at their point of use.”

For more information, contact the Ipswich District Crime Prevention Unit on 3817 1351.

Anyone with information that could assist police inquiries into the thefts should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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