Anger as thieves step up fuel raids

Paul Kaczmarek was angry on Saturday to find his car had been syphoned of petrol. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Paul Kaczmarek was angry on Saturday to find his car had been syphoned of petrol. Picture: TARA GOONAN

WODONGA’S petty thieves have stepped up their late-night raids to save themselves money — and have angered residents.

Their siphoning of petrol from cars has left people annoyed and, in some cases, broke.

They struck again three times on Friday night — in Jakary Court, Lytham Court and Coyles Road in West Wodonga.

They also broke into a car in Prendergast Street.

The latest siphoning incidents take the number of petrol thefts in Wodonga to nine in less than a fortnight.

There were thefts from two cars in Cambourne Park Estate on Wednesday night and four earlier in south Wodonga, including in Avondale Drive, Fenwick Court and Hogan Court.

One of the latest victims was Paul Kaczmarek, of Lytham Court, who found his car empty on Saturday morning.

“I feel really annoyed,” Mr Kaczmarek said. “We had planned to go away and these criminals think they can take other people’s property.

“It’s really disappointing.”

Mr Kaczmarek said the cost of fuel was “out of control” and families could not afford to suffer from a petty crime.

“With this new budget, the ordinary families will struggle to put fuel in their cars and food on the table,” he said.

“It doesn’t seem like much but it’s really hard for struggling families.”

Mr Kaczmarek spends $90 to fill the tank of the family Holden Commodore.

“They got about $60 out of it,” he said.

He said a trip the family had budgeted for had been called off because he couldn’t afford to fill up the car twice.

“We have to grin and bear it,” he said.

“I just hope the police can catch these people and deal with them accordingly.

“It has been going on for some time. These people can’t be left to roam the street.”

Wodonga police Sgt Shane Martin said siphoning was a dangerous activity.

“There’s a risk the thieves will burn themselves with petrol and inhale fumes,” he said.

“And it wasn’t fair on victims — it’s a cost to them and it’s an inconvenience to get petrol again,” he said.

“We want people to be vigilant.

“If you hear noise at night, if you see something, any information is greatly appreciated.”

Anyone with information should contact detectives on (02) 6049 2700.