Thieves steal same car twice, second time from police

THIEVES re-stole an Audi from a police station that they had already stolen, with North Queensland facing a crime wave that police say is out of control.

And officers are so understaffed they had to close a 24-hour station on Friday night so at least some police would be on the road, according to Queensland's Police Union.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the grey Audi was stolen on Wednesday and used in a break-in before it was found by police at a Caravan Park on Thursday.

Officers towed the police vehicle to Deeragun Police Station because the owner didn't have a spare key.

But just hours later a thief was dropped off at an allotment next to the station before they cut a hole in the security fence at the back of the holding yard.

They then moved the gate and cut the chain securing the gates before fleeing in the Audi.

Overworked police who were helping ambulance officers noticed the stolen car drive past them minutes later.

Queensland Police Union's Ian Leavers. Pic Peter Wallis
Queensland Police Union's Ian Leavers. Pic Peter Wallis

Another crew saw the car and told a boss who checked the holding yard and confirmed it was no longer there.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said policing in Townsville "is in crisis" with more funding needed.

"Owing to our chronic underfunding and woeful shortstaffing, in a 24 hour period alone last week we saw car thieves brazenly 're-steal' a stolen car from the Deeragun Police Station and we saw Kirwan Police Station actually shut its doors owing to a lack of police to keep it open," he said.

"These incidents are only the most recent in a long line of events that show that all police in Townsville are at breaking point.

"The rubber band can be stretched only so far.

"We need real action and real solutions for more police in Townsville.

"It is getting to the stage that owing to the underfunding and under-resourcing, police are losing control and offenders, particularly juveniles, now have the upper hand."

The office of Police Minister Mark Ryan has been contacted for comment.