POLICE are investigating possible links between a string of car thefts and car fires, with four men seen fleeing a stolen vehicle after crashing it in Wodonga.
Judy Johnson, 73, was inside her Trudewind Road home on Thursday when she heard a loud bang as the stolen Mazda slammed into a tree.
The vehicle skidded out of control about 7am and came to a rest on her nature strip before the four occupants fled.
Police later seized a mallet and other items from the car.
Ms Johnson said the vehicle could have crashed into her home.
“I’m always absolutely terrified of something like this happening,” she said.
“There are always people walking on the footpaths.
“I’m just terrified of someone swinging around on any of the corners and coming onto the footpath and squashing someone.
“When I came outside I thought ‘my god’.
“They could have crashed into the caravan on the front lawn or done some damage to the house – it’s a bit scary having things like this happen.”
The vehicle had been stolen from a Sturtvale Court home in West Albury overnight.
Albury Inspector Scott Russell said a green 2012 Ford utility was also stolen from a Highview Crescent property overnight and was yet to be recovered.
Wodonga police are investigating a car theft on Burnley Street, with the vehicle found burnt out at Kookaburra Point about 3.30am.
Rural Fire Service Superintendent Pat Westwood said firefighters also responded to a car fire at Wonga Wetlands at 5.20am.
Inspector Russell urged anyone who saw the stolen utility to contact police.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Leonard said officers were working to track down the four men seen running from the crashed car.
“We’re working closely with NSW police in relation to their matters overnight to see whether the matters are linked,” he said.
“We have found items in the car that don’t belong there and are investigating where those items have come from.”
The people seen running from the car were reported to be aged about 16 to 22.
“We’re in the process of conducting investigations to identify and locate those four individuals,” Detective Senior Constable Leonard said.