Alleged thieves caught in act

THREE men alleged to have been part of a spate of rural property thefts east of Warwick have been arrested and charged by police.

A spokesman for the Warwick Police Criminal Investigation Branch yesterday said two of the three men had been caught red-handed and detained by a pair of property owners on Friday night, and the third was located at a later time.

A range of stealing offences is understood to have taken place in rural districts surrounding Warwick over the past six or so weeks, with diesel and CB radios being common items on the thieves' wish list.

Police have issued a warning to property owners to increase their security and surveillance, as well as urging them to pass on information.

The CIB spokesman said the three men arrested had all been charged with entering a premises and stealing, and one had also been charged with entering a vehicle with intent to commit an offence.

"All three of these individuals were issued with notices to appear in the Warwick Magistrates Court on April 10," the spokesman said.

"Two of them were located in a farm building by property owners on the Hermitage-Emu Vale Rd at about 10.30pm on Friday.

"They were detained by the owners until police arrived. We believe that they may be part of a group of people who have been carrying out thefts from rural locations in recent weeks.

"We just urge rural residents to be vigilant and to report any suspicious vehicle movements at night, or any other activity which seems unusual."

THE spokesman said council and Main Roads vehicles were also in the thieves' sights and diesel had been stolen from at least one Roadtek roller.

One of the property owners involved in Friday's night's foiled theft, who declined to be identified at this time, echoed the police warning for increased security.

"While these incidents are a concern, the good thing is that the rural neighbourhood watch is on the increase," the property owner said.

"Because this kind of thing has been so rife I think people are taking more care to keep watch on their own properties and equipment, but also their neighbours'.

"People are becoming more and more vigilant and doing things like recording serial numbers of their equipment, so that they can give these details to police if things go west.

"I can only urge rural residents to report anything out of the ordinary to police."

He said he understood the police investigation was ongoing and was hopeful of further results, after seeing how quickly police responded on Friday evening.

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