By HARRY CLARKE
TWO cars and four motorbikes were stolen and dumped in a wild crime rampage around Goondiwindi overnight which culminated with two robbers in balaclavas threatening a farmer at knifepoint.
The thieves also stole thousands of dollars worth of tools and attempted to break into a gun cabinet, in what locals say is a dramatic escalation of an ongoing crimewave that’s making the wider Goondiwindi community increasingly fed up.
The Caller understands two utes and three bikes were stolen in the township during the night, before the rampage continued throughout this morning across several rural properties just over the NSW border towards Yetman.
One of the utes has since been found burnt out near Boggabilla.
The last property off Tucka Tucka Rd was hit about 6am, when the culprits brazenly waved to a 7-year-old boy playing in the front yard of his rural homestead before stealing a quad bike which had been parked in an adjacent farm shed.
“I was just inside at the time and my wife was out jogging, and they came past in broad daylight and said g’day to my son,” said property owner told the Caller.
“They’d already stolen one quad bike and two two-wheelers from in town, then came and took off with one of ours.
“I jumped in the car and chased after them on two of the bikes and managed to run them off the dirt road a couple times. They dumped one of the bikes and then both got on the second one.
“Eventually I caught up with them and they started ramming my vehicle and calling me scum. When I bailed them up one of them pulled out a knife and that’s when I backed off.”
The victim said he understood the knife was a large pig hunting tool which had been attached to the bike they’d stolen from the first property.
“It was a big knife, the size of a large kitchen knife,” he said.
The culprits, both estimated to be aged in their early 20s, took off together on the bike, sparking a search involving local police, sniffer dogs, neighbours and one local farmer with a helicopter.
Eventually the remaining four-wheeler was spotted from the helicopter, dumped upturned in an estuary of the Macintyre River.
The Caller has contacted local police for further details about the incidents.
This morning wasn’t the first time criminals have targeted the family, who are among a long and growing list of car theft and arson victims throughout the Goondiwindi region.
In 2018 the family had a new Toyota Landcruiser stolen from their property and torched nearby.
“It’s just a game for them. There’s no purpose, they’re not selling anything, they’re just bored,” he said.
“Everyone’s getting absolutely sick of it, and someone’s going to get hurt one day.”
SEVEN NEWS STORY FROM JUNE 2021
According to police statistics, crime, particularly vehicle thefts and break-ins, have been rampant in the Goondiwindi area over the past year.
There was a peak of 138 criminal offences in May alone last year but there’s been a downward trend in recent months. So far there have been 55 offences for during the month of January.