Police stop 4 kids ages 10 to 14 who drove parent’s SUV 600 miles down Australia’s east coast

In this image made from video, New South Wales state police Acting Inspector Darren Williams speaks about child drivers during a news conference in Coffs Harbour, Australia, Monday, July 15, 2019. Four children aged 10 to 14 packed fishing rods in a parent's SUV, left a farewell note then drove more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) down the Australian east coast before they were stopped by police the next day, an officer said on Monday. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)

By ROD McGUIRK,  Associated Press  CANBERRA, Australia (AP) 07/15 — Four children aged 10 to 14 packed fishing rods in a parent’s SUV, left a farewell note then drove more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) down the Australian east coast before they were stopped by police the next day after two fuel thefts and one aborted pursuit, officers said on Monday.

When the children were stopped by police near Grafton in New South Wales state at 10:40 p.m. Sunday, they locked the doors and refused to get out, Acting Police Inspector Darren Williams said.

A police officer used a baton to break a window of the 2004 Nissan Patrol, which had been reported stolen by worried parents, Williams said.

Police were not sure which child or children drove or why they left Rockhampton in Queensland state on Saturday. The children are a 14-year-old boy, two 13-year-old boys and a 10-year-old girl.

Williams said they possibly shared the driving.

“It’s a long way, in excess of 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Rockhampton down to Grafton. I couldn’t imagine one person actually driving all that way in two days,” Williams told reporters.

The children are suspected of failing to pay for fuel at Outback gas stations in the Queensland town of Banana and the New South Wales town of Warialda, police said.

They were also chased by police in the New South Wales town of Glen Innes, where a 13-year-old was suspected to be driving, Williams said.

“There was a short pursuit up there with the Highway Patrol and due to the age of the driver and the road conditions, that was terminated by the Highway Patrol officers … and the general duties police that were involved,” he said.

The 14-year-old lived in Grafton, which might have been the children’s destination, Williams said.

Banana Truck Stop cashier Harry White said the SUV drove off without paying for diesel at 4:35 a.m. Sunday. He estimated that the children must have left Rockhampton around midnight. Banana is a town of a few hundred people that grows no bananas and is named after a dun-colored bull.

White said the theft involved 82 liters (more than 21 gallons) of diesel worth about 120 Australian dollars (more than $107).

He was not working at the time but said he watched closed-circuit TV footage and was struck by the short stature of the driver, who didn’t stand as tall as the SUV’s door. Police said all four range from 150 centimeters (5 feet) tall to 160 centimeters (5 feet, 4 inches) tall.

The driver behaved casually as he filled the car, then spoke to a passenger before hanging up the gas pump, White said.

“He turned around to his mate or passenger in the car, had a small conversation which I assume was: ‘Hey mate, get ready, we’re getting out of here,’ and that’s when he put it in the bowser and got in his car and shut the door and took off,” White said.

A Queensland police statement said the children had taken cash with them from Rockhampton and one of the 13-year-olds had “left a note to his family indicating he was leaving.”

Police have yet to interview the children because they cannot be questioned without a parent or guardian being present. Williams said they will be charged, but did not list the alleged offenses.

Williams did not know if the children were related or how they knew each other.

Schools are closed in New South Wales for the midyear vacation, while the school vacation ended in Queensland on Monday.

Drivers must be at least 17 years old in Queensland to apply for a license.

https://www.apnews.com/eb10f1fca9ec411d9d322d3eee355784

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Hot Pursuit, International Policing, Juveniles, Strange and Unusual, Theft

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + 13 =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.