On Monday, 22 March, during last week’s flood, a set of wheels on Roman Guerra’s water truck dropped off one side of a Main Arm causeway near Kohinur Hall. But it was the fact that while they waited overnight for the floodwaters to subside that the truck was stripped both externally and internally that was most upsetting.
‘The local community was amazing helping me to try and the truck out, especially Matthew and Sean. We couldn’t get the truck out while the floods were up so we secured it, making sure there was enough room for emergency vehicles to get through, and were waiting till the next morning to get her out,’ water truck owner Roman told The Echo.
Overnight $17,000 of gear was stripped from the truck including several winches whose removal left the truck badly damaged and the wiring was cut.
‘It was a very thorough job,’ said Roman.
‘The truck was completely stripped of front and rear winches Runva 17500 lbs, the water transfer pump, a Honda 5.5hp 3″ pump, and fire hose reels, caps, and hoses. Tool boxes that contains recovery gear and spares and everything inside the cab was picked clean.
‘It was truly disappointing in light of being in such a vulnerable position in the first place.
‘It had to be someone from the local community because no one else could have got there because of the flooding you couldn’t come from Mullum or Uki.’
‘The bush telegraph quickly go the word out about what had happened and community members who are “sick and tired of seeing hard working people being stolen from by their own community” pointed me in the right direction to retrieve most of my stuff,’ said Roman.
He was able to recover a significant amount of the stolen equipment. However, he is still missing a tool box and all the things that were stripped from the inside of the cab which were mostly sentimental and included the remote controls for the winches.
‘I’m bitterly disappointed that this happend in the community. We are all here to help each other, especially in the floods. That is one of the reasons I got the truck as well, so I could go through them. Should there be an emergency any member of the community can call me and we’d help out in an emergency.’
Members of the local community have said that they were aware of a red vehicle that was in the area after everyone had left the truck secured at the crossing.
‘These muppets they can’t keep doing this in our community. The police have got to take a stand and find these guys and be proactive in finding these muppets because this sort of behaviour just can’t be tolerated.’
‘The matter has been reported to Police and we are investigating,’ Detective Chief Inspector, Officer in Charge – Byron Bay Police Station told The Echo.
‘Exhibits have been seized and we are awaiting the results of forensic analysis. The investigation is on going and it appears that the offender/s likely reside in the Main Arm area.
‘Police are reminding people to lock their vehicles and never leave keys or valuable belongings in vehicles.’
Anyone with information is asked to call the police visit Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.