Car thieves nab utes
POLICE have released fresh information in their hunt for thieves who stole two classic utes from a Warwick motel in the early hours of Saturday.
The two utes, worth more than $30,000 each, were in Warwick for the Monaro Nationals event at the weekend and were stolen from the Jackie Howe Motel.
A metallic purple Falcon XY71 GT utility and a black 1995 Nissan Patrol 4WD station wagon towing a trailer with a classic white Holden ute on the back were stolen by what police believe are professional car thieves.
A third vehicle, a 1973 Monaro, was taken from the car park at the Centre Point Mid City Motor Inn on Albion Street and moved into a vacant paddock behind the motel in an apparently abandoned theft attempt.
A Warwick Police Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) spokesman told the Daily News yesterday afternoon that closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage had been viewed which revealed two suspects.
He said police wanted any information members of the public may have about the two men caught on tape.
“They are of similar appearance – young white males, both about five feet nine inches in height with well-groomed blonde hair and in their mid-20s,” the CIB spokesman said.
“They were both dressed in jeans and black jumpers at the time they were filmed by CCTV.
“These two young white males were observed at the Centre Point Mid City Motor Inn on Albion Street in Warwick about 11pm on Friday night and their behaviour was regarded as suspicious.
“We are looking to speak with these men or to anyone who may have information about them.”
The CIB spokesman said police believed the pair may have been in town for a couple of days before the thefts, planning and making observations.
They may be part of an organised crime syndicate.
The CIB spokesman said the purple Falcon ute was stolen from the Jackie Howe Motel about 3.15am on Saturday, while the Nissan Patrol with the white Holden ute on the trailer was stolen a short time later at 3.55am.
“The Nissan Patrol, with the ute on the trailer, was seen in Brisbane at 6.16am on Saturday, heading north in the Eagle Farm area,” he said.
Police also wish to speak to the drivers of three vehicles observed on the CCTV footage on the roundabout at the junction of Palmerin and Victoria Streets, adjacent to the Jackie Howe Motel, between 3am and 4am on Saturday.
The vehicles are described as a dark-grey, late-model Commodore sedan, a late model dark-coloured Land Rover Discovery and a late model black Chrysler wagon.
“We believe the drivers of these vehicles may have observed suspicious behaviour related to the thefts and we would urge them to come forward,” the CIB spokesman said.
He said several other lines of inquiry were also being pursued at this time.
The owner of the car dumped behind the Centre Point Mid City Motor Inn, Lewis Cassar from Cronulla in New South Wales, was shocked to find his beloved 1973 Monaro HQ GTS missing from the motel car park on Saturday morning.
It was later spotted by another motel guest in the back paddock, the rough terrain of which is believed to have hampered the attempted theft.
It is understood car owners attending the Monaro Nationals hired private security guards last night and on Sunday night to stand watch over their beloved wheels at their motels.
The CIB spokesman said while it was too early to say for certain, police could not rule out a link between the weekend thefts in Warwick and the theft of a black Holden HSV Maloo ute from a motel at Willowbank last weekend.
Owners Steve and Merryn Austin from the Sunshine Coast were attending the three-day Powercruise event at Queensland Raceway last week and have offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the whereabouts of the ute and the culprits being charged.
Police believe the Maloo may have been driven through the Southern Downs and Granite Belt from Willowbank.
Mr Austin said yesterday he had received two calls from people in the Warwick area after the Daily News story on Tuesday.
“One bloke told me he had spotted a black Maloo but from the description he gave me of the exhaust tips and the rims I knew it wasn’t mine,” Mr Austin said.
“There must be another black Maloo cruising around Warwick.”
The Maloo is worth $110,000 with the rims, which Mr Austin said were one of only two sets of their kind in Australia, worth $11,500 alone.
The thieves went to the extent of tying closed the door of the couple’s motel room while they carried out their brazen act, with the Maloo fitted with an alarm and an immobiliser. They also stole $1500 in cash from the console.
Mr Austin believes the thieves attended Powercruise and trailed the couple to their motel.
The high-performance Maloo is similar to one stolen from Tannymorel late last year and taken on a joyride, only to be found torched in northern NSW.
Call Steve Austin with any information on the Maloo 0417 739 383.
Anyone with information about the cars stolen in Warwick at the weekend is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Warwick Police on 4660 4444.
Have you seen the suspects?
They are described as
- Caucasian males in their mid-20s and similar in appearance
- Well-groomed blonde hair
- Both about 5ft 9in in height
- Dressed in jeans and black jumpers on Friday night and Saturday morning
Anyone with information about the suspects, or the stolen cars, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers urgently on 1800 333 000 or the Warwick Police on 4660 4444.