Rats of Tobruk war relic found dumped after theft

St Luke's Church Centre warden Gordon Lee is upset that St Luke's Warriors' Chapel has been targeted by thieves.
St Luke's Church Centre warden Gordon Lee is upset that St Luke's Warriors' Chapel has been targeted by thieves. Kevin Farmer

POLICE are urging churches and businesses to ensure security measures are up to date and functional after a spate of thefts in recent weeks.

St Luke's Anglican Church's Warriors' Chapel has been the latest premise to be targeted by thieves who have taken advantage of the church's open door policy.

A priceless and irreplaceable Rats of Tobruk war banner was stolen alongside six flags in a brazen theft at the city church yesterday.

Thankfully the banner was recovered in a bag along with candelabras stolen from the Warriors' Chapel altar and memorial yesterday afternoon, but the search is continuing to recover the Australia, Queensland and Armed Services flags taken in the theft.

Church warden Gordon Lee, a Vietnam veteran, said he was relived the Tobruk banner had been recovered but was disappointed the Australian flags remained missing.

"The banner was found in the hedge at the front of the church," Mr Lee said.

"It was in a bag with a heap of other things from the church including candelabras and crosses.

"It's disappointing that they were taken, and the six flags are still outstanding."

The ropes tying the flags on the flagpoles had been burnt sometime between 6am and 11.30am, Mr Lee said.

Mr Lee said St Luke's kept the doors open for the community and tourists wanting to pray in the historic church, and it was disappointing that trust had been violated by the thief.

Toowoomba Criminal Investigation Branch Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Brian Collins said churches in the city had been targeted by thieves in recent weeks and the St Luke's theft was a reminder to ensure security systems were up to date.

"At this time of year when churches are open, it's a reminder for people to be vigilant with their security and for people to be prepared to report anything suspicious," he said.

"Police will be investigating (the St Luke's theft) and will review CCTV footage to locate the offenders."



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