Young mum's car stolen from home twice in four days
AS CHRISTMAS Eve dawned on Danielle Nielsen and her young family, it became apparent that this festive season would be filled with little joy.
Instead of eagerly preparing to surprise her three young children, Ms Nielsen was in regular contact with Mackay police after her car was stolen from her West Mackay home.
"On Christmas Eve my partner went outside at 2am and the car was gone. We knew it was there at 12 o'clock before we went to bed, so in those two hours it had been stolen," Ms Nielsen said.
"I have a keyless entry car and there were two keys: one was in my nappy bag which must have fallen out in my car.
"We've locked it but all they had to do was push the key-less entry and it registered the key inside."
Fortunately the car was soon located by police just past Dolphin Heads Resort, with a broken back light and riddled with the smell of smoke.
The children's car seats had also been dispatched, and Ms Nielsen's iPad, credit cards and wallet were gone.
Worse still, there was little time to revel in what relief they had. Four days later the car had been stolen again.
"It would've been at about 1.20am that we'd laid down when I looked out the bedroom window and there was an orange flash - I thought nothing of it because we have orange lights outside," Ms Nielsen said of the second incident.
"Five minutes after that flash my partner jumps out of bed and flies out the door - he's seen the reverse light.
"He jumped in his car and took off after them ... next thing he knows they're doing 200km/h up Nebo Rd to get away from him."
Ms Nielsen said they had parked her partner's car behind her own in an attempt to block the culprits from recommitting the crime - given they were believed to still be in possession of a set of keys.
However a small window gap left open was all that it took for the thief to snare their way in to unlock the door.
The vehicle was located again in Stevenson St in South Mackay, with an alleged suspect of the theft found near the car - a boy who Ms Nielsen picked as no older than 15.
According to Ms Nielsen, the alleged crook was joined by several other supposed thieves, and it is believed the brazen group are linked to a host of other thefts in the region.
She said this was the first case where a believed thief had been physically linked to a vehicle because similar incidents had been reported.
However she had been told the thieves have smartened up; using gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints behind.
Despite being found near the vehicle, she said the alleged culprit could not be held as no forensic evidence has been found within the car.
The terrifying ordeal has left the family incredibly shaken.
"We've been terrified to the point where we're looking at getting security cameras in and outside the house because it just doesn't happen a second time," she said.
"You don't think they're going to be stupid enough to come back and roll the car out and I don't think they thought we would be up at 1 o'clock in the morning, which makes me think how many times have they walked past this house?
"My partner said he had the worst sleep he's had last night; any movement outside he's straight up looking out the window. It's affected our family dramatically what they've done."
Queensland Police Service was contacted to speak about car thefts in the region.
However, officers were unavailable to provide comment.