DESPERATE thieves have broken into a used car dealership in Woombye, wrecking a small 1997 Toyota Starlet and taking off with its parts.
Saleswoman Pamela Brooks woke on Monday morning to find one of her cars had been stripped by thieves.
The theft was one of a spate involving nine vehicles on Saturday and Sunday being investigated by police, including a car wrecker in Caloundra.
CW Auto Parts Wreckers owner Abby Wright said a pile of catalytic converters worth more than $4000 was stolen on Sunday night.
Ms Brooks, who owns Pam's 4x4 Centre, was furious to discover the Starlet had been pulled apart while she slept in her temporary digs at the back of the property.
The thieves tore off its bonnet, removed the radiator, side panels, tail and head
lights, spare tyres and other parts, rendering it useless, she said.
"On Sunday night I went out there and locked up the gates, and on Monday morning I came out and I had one car stripped which is going to be a total write-off," she said.
It was a puzzling discovery for the 70-year-old, who blamed the state of the economy, saying people were struggling to make ends meet and turning to crime.
"People are really struggling," she said.
A second car was also damaged, with only minor, low-value parts removed.
Ms Brooks said parts to the value of around $4000 were stolen, but she hopes to rebuild it if the parts were found.
"My suggestion to all you guys out there, lock up your cars and if any one of your neighbours is suddenly fixing up a little Toyota Starlet, the parts are coming from here. So please let the local police know."
Nambour Police officer-in-charge, Senior Sergeant Gary Brayley, said a forensic investigation team took fingerprints at the scene yesterday.
He said Nambour had seen a spike in thefts from vehicles this month, and in the two days after Ms Brooks' car was stripped seven other vehicles were targeted.
Some of them were in the same streets at around the same time, indicating the same thief was responsible.
Top thefts from vehicles
- Mobile phones
- Wallets, cash, credit cards
- Registration plates
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