THE owner of a Wangaratta business yesterday said thieves who stole his vehicle and bogged it while joy-riding were reckless and stupid.
Police have charged three men, aged 25, 26 and 26, over the incident.
They will face a bail hearing in Wangaratta Magistrates Court today.
Wangaratta Exhaust Centre owner Richard Pell left his Mitsubishi Pajero in a shed at his business on Monday night.
Thieves broke in overnight and left with the vehicle, an outboard motor, two chainsaws, cash and a computer.
The vehicle was found bogged under the Ovens River bridge.
The man who reported it told police he had been “chilling” there.
An unhappy Mr Pell said the vehicle was “basically brand new”.
“The front window is broken and it was bogged to the top of the wheels,” he said.
“It’s just stupidity and it’s so frustrating.”
Mr Pell said it was the third time in nine years his Parfitt Road business has been a target for thieves.
The front of the business was rammed in 2005 and cash stolen.
And the business was also broken into again 18 months ago and money was stolen.
The goods stolen on Monday — minus the cash — were recovered with the vehicle.
The thieves entered the business through an old window.
“It’s an old shed, so there’s only so much you can do,” Mr Pell said.
“I guess it comes down to being conscious about what is left here.”