An Inverell mother has had to sit her three, young children down and tell them Christmas might not be so joyful this year after having their ute stolen this week.
The local family of five were awoken to a phone call from police at 3am on Monday morning informing them of some heartbreaking news.
“The officer said ‘I’m standing in front of your ute, it’s on fire in Borthwick Street’. We were told to sit tight and police would come to us.”
When police arrived the vehicle had only just been lit but officers were unable to leave the scene until other emergency services arrived.
The family estimated around $10,000 worth of fishing and hunting gear was either stolen or burnt along with their ute.
“There was about 300 plus fishing lures, some 20 years old, four fishing rods, hunting gear, tracking colours, a massive carry bag of men’s clothing, a boat motor and a boat on the back of the ute.”
The father had just returned from a fishing competition and planned to unpack the vehicle the following day.
Now, the young family are offering a reward for information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of person/s involved in the theft.
“Our five-year-old son wants to move because he is too scared the bad people might return. We live in a beautiful street with incredible neighbours, mostly elderly, and one of our neighbours is terrified to go outside in fear of these disgusting people returning,” they said.
Parked just metres away from their bedroom window, the ute was stolen and the family’s second car was broken into and rummaged through.
They’ve been told the car could not be touched until fingerprinting had been carried out, leaving the family without a way around town for a number of days.
Just weeks away from Christmas, the family will have to make sacrifices to replace the items stolen.
“I know a lot of people are so much worse off than we are but we work hard for everything we have and to have something like this happen is heartbreaking. We are a one-income family and we don’t have the money to just buy new things.”
The family hopes the community of Inverell will rally together and stand against the behaviour by reporting any information regarding the theft to local police.
“We want justice for our stuff. We know it’ll take time to rebuild but we don’t want these people getting away with it. Go get a job if you want something, don’t steal it off good, honest people with small children.”
As a family who love the outdoors, the children are devastated they won’t be able to go to the dam or fishing during the Christmas holidays.
“Our kids thrive off recreational activities and family time away but now they’re too scared to do anything.”
Luckily, the family’s neighbours have CCTV cameras and the footage has been taken by police to further assist the investigation.
“It’s more beneficial for these people to just come forward. The ute was stolen from our front yard at 2.05am with clear vision of the person driving away,” the family said.
If you have any information phone Inverell police on 6722 0599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.