CIB officer in charge Daren Edwards. Photo: Cade Mooney
CIB officer in charge Daren Edwards. Photo: Cade Mooney Cade Mooney

Cop says victims' 'stupidity' makes it easy for crooks

A SUNSHINE Coast police chief has described two recent car thefts as "bizarre" and "dumb" after the victims left their keys in unlocked vehicles, only to have them stolen in what is likely to become a spate of crimes.

A 54-year-old woman told police it was "normal practice" for her to leave her keys inside her unlocked vehicle after her car was stolen while she watched a movie at the Sunshine Plaza on Sunday, March 17.

She parked in the lot near Coles and Kmart Tyre and Auto about 1.15pm, and returned two hours later to find her vehicle was gone.

Three days later, an 84-year-old Shelly Beach woman had come home from church, parked in her driveway, switched the engine off and placed the keys on the front passenger seat.

She went inside to get some items with plans to return to church, but discovered her vehicle was gone after she recalled hearing it start up while she was upstairs.

Her handbag and contents were on the floor in the back, and she has since had to block her phone.


24/12/03   125483Sunshine Plaza Police Beat Senior Constable Andrew Peters  checks out some cars in the park.Photo: Nicholas Falconer / Sunshine Coast Daily
The Sunshine Coast CIB chief says police resources are poured into preventable crimes each week. Pictured, a police officer inspects cars at the Sunshine Plaza. Nicholas Falconer

Maroochydore Criminal Investigation Bureau officer-in-charge Daren Edwards said the cars had not been recovered, and police now had to pour resources into entirely preventable investigations.

Senior Sergeant Edwards believes the district's crime rate would half overnight if everyone today locked their homes, their cars, hid their keys and bags.

He said a car theft alone required a huge amount of police resources including scenes of crime analysis, time spent viewing CCTV and in the Sunshine Plaza's case, numberplate recognition, plus officers would be on the lookout for stolen vehicles.

But he said this was just the beginning, and police last week recovered a vehicle in Shelly Beach after the "off chops" thief "drove like a lunatic" from Brisbane via Beerburrum.

"(Vehicle thefts) turn into evades, petrol drive-offs, the lady's credit cards are probably being used," Snr Sgt Edwards said.

"They multiply the amount of resources (needed).

"They keep cars for days, evade police, make dangerous situations."


Snr Sgt Daren Edwards, CIB Officer in Charge, addresses the media to discuss today's shooting at a tattoo parlour in Mooloolaba.
Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
CIB officer in charge Daren Edwards is fed up with the community making it easy for crooks to steal their cars and property. Iain Curry

The recent car thefts were just two of the average 10 each week, which are occurring across the Sunshine Coast at all hours.

Dwelling break and enters also spiked to 25 this last week, up from an average 18 with Nambour the hardest hit recently.

"In this day and age it's just pure stupidity, there's no use being soft about it," Snr Sgt Edwards said.

"Young crooks don't hot-wire cars, they look for keys.

"They don't have to smash things to break in, make noise and draw attention."

Snr Sgt Edwards said locking your car was as simple as pressing a button, and advised people to secure their homes and hide handbags, keys and valuables out of eyesight rather than on a hook or bench.

"What's it got to take the insurance to say, 'No, you left the keys in the car'," he said.

"What do the police have to start pinching people, giving them tickets for leaving keys unattended?

"We don't want to have to go down that path."