Gundagai Police have charged two youths after seven vehicles were reported stolen from the Gundagai area and one from Adelong since July.
On September 18, a 14-year-old youth from South Gundagai was charged with 14 offences including six counts of steal motor vehicle, dangerous driving, unlicensed driving, dealing in proceeds of crime and stealing.
He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Gundagai Local Court on October 14.
On September 27, the youth was charged with breach of bail and was bail refused to appear at Tumut Local Court, where he was later released on conditional bail.
The youth was again detected to be in breach of his bail on October 4, and was also charged with four additional offences relating to two stolen vehicles.
He was refused bail at Gundagai Police Station and taken to a juvenile detention centre in Wagga Wagga.
On October 5, the youth pleaded guilty to some of the matters at Wagga Wagga Local Court and was sentenced to 12 months probation on four of the charges.
The magistrate granted him conditional bail to appear before Gundagai Local Court on November 11 on the remaining matters.
Police said the youth is believed to be actively seeking out vehicles that are left unlocked with keys either in the vehicle or easily accessible.
On at least one occasion, he had an accomplice who has been dealt with separately under the Young Offender’s Act.
Gundagai Police Sergeant Shane Brasen said police are urging people to ensure their vehicles are locked and the keys secured.
“We don’t want to get to the point where we are issuing fines to people for leaving their vehicles unlocked or with keys in the ignition,” Sgt Brasen said.
“The message needs to get through – keep your vehicles locked and secured. You will likely save the vehicle being stolen.
“We are not dealing with sophisticated criminals here. The offender/s are generally walking around until they find a vehicle with the keys left in the ignition.”
Sgt Brasen also reminds vehicle owners that insurance companies may decline to pay claims where there have been keys left in the vehicle.