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Coonamble car thieves ‘post and boast’ as new laws come into force

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Coonamble Times

30 March 2024, 2:40 AM

Coonamble car thieves ‘post and boast’ as new laws come into forceRodney Vallett’s ute dumped and burnt in the river.

When Coonamble Cellars owner Rodney Vallett lent his ute to his nephew for the weekend, he'd have never thought it would end up dumped and burnt out along the river. 

Rodney said the car keys were stolen from his nephew's house on McMahon Street, Coonamble around midnight on Monday 18 March.

"We don't know if they pushed it or whatever out of the yard but they ran over the water metre and tap. That's how they realised the car was stolen - no water inside the house," Rodney said.

"[They] went outside to check why and realised the car was gone."

His nephew rang Tuesday morning to tell Rodney what had happened. 

Hopes of recovering it intact were dashed later in the morning. 

"About 11 o'clock someone told us that there was a car on fire at the back crossing at Castlereagh River," Rodney said. 

He went to find the car "still smouldering down the river."

Police confirmed they received a report for a stolen vehicle between 1am and 6:30am on Tuesday 19 March.

While still at the site of the wreck, Rodney discovered that the perpetrators had posted a video of the alleged crime on Snapchat.

"I don't know what time the perpetrators put the post out, but someone's screenshotted it and sent it to us," he said.

"I paid $31,000 for the truck and had a brand new set of tyres put on it six weeks ago.

"I'm just disappointed that people don't care about your own personal stuff."

The screenshot, obtained by The Coonamble Times, shows an individual squatting on top of the truck.

Names and faces clearly visible in the photographs on social media have been obscured [above] for legal reasons. 

Police advise the matter is still under investigation and anyone with further information is encouraged to come forward.

The alleged offences took place just days before the NSW parliament passed tougher bail rules on 21 March for youth offenders. 

Under the new rules, 14 to 18-year-olds charged with serious offences will go through an additional bail test. 

The changes also now make it a criminal offence to ‘post and boast’ online about car thefts and break-ins.

Whether this provides a deterrent to offenders remains to be seen.