Thieves stole Jeep as cy­clone threat­ened Fam­ily car torched

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

WHILE ev­ery­one else was bat­ten­ing down the hatches in an­tic­i­pa­tion for Cy­clone Yasi last month, Lau­rieAnne O’Leary and her fam­ily were won­der­ing how some­one could break into their home and steal their car.

Ms O’ L e a r y t h i s wee k searched through the wreck­age of her brand new Jeep Wran­gler af­ter it was torched by thieves who took it from her Kelso home the night be­fore the cy­clone struck, and then dumped it.

The frus­trated vic­tim said the thieves broke into the house, stole her wal­let, her mum’s wal­let and the keys to her car be­fore tak­ing off.

‘‘ Pretty much, we woke up in the morn­ing and re­alised our car wasn’t there,’’ she said.

Ms O’Leary said she heard a car sim­i­lar to hers was dumped in bush­land in Kelso and when she in­ves­ti­gated she found her num­ber plates near the burnt-out mess.

‘‘ Po­lice said it was the worst burn out of a car they’ve ever seen . . . there’s just ab­so­lutely noth­ing,’’ she said. ‘‘ It has been com­pletely torched.’’

Ms O’Leary said the theft could not have come at a worse time, given she and hus­band Stafford had just started a fam­ily, bring­ing baby girl Malaika into the world 10 months ago.

‘‘ We bought the car be­cause we had a new baby and

GUT­TED: Stafford and Laurie-Anne O’Leary with baby Malaika with their car af­ter it was torched wanted to be in a re­li­able, safe car that’s got a roll cage and ev­ery­thing like that,’’ she said. ‘‘ Now we’re driv­ing around in my mum’s Camry. They’ve just got no re­spect for peo­ple, com­ing into their houses.’’

But as frus­trated as she is – par­tic­u­larly given her in­surance will now take longer to process since the car has b e e n d i s c o v e r e d – M s O’Leary said she tried to look at the pos­i­tives.

‘‘ At least they didn’t kid­nap our daugh­ter when t hey were in our house. The car was black and it was too hot, so we told RACQ we wanted a sil­ver one,’’ she joked

On a more se­ri­ous note, Ms O’Leary said she even felt sorry for the thieves.

‘‘ To me, the key to liv­ing is hav­ing a sense of peace and I don’t know how you can have peace in your life when you do this to peo­ple,’’ she said. ‘‘ So my first ini­tial feel­ing was that I felt quite sorry for them.’’

Ms O’Leary said while she was in­sured, she would be forced to pay any ex­cess if those re­spon­si­ble were not brought to jus­tice.

She said crime was com­mon in the area and she hoped t hose r e s p o ns i b l e were caught so they could not do the same thing to other peo­ple.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the theft should call Townsville po­lice on 4759 9777 or Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

A PER­SON was rushed to hos­pi­tal last night af­ter be­ing stabbed in Kelso around 9.30pm.

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