Four children have been found by police in regional New South Wales after allegedly stealing a parent’s car and driving more than 900 kilometres from Queensland. It’s understood that three boys, one aged 14 and two aged 13, along with a 10-year-old girl took the four-wheel-drive Nissan Patrol from Gracemere, in the Rockhampton region, at about 10:40pm on Saturday. Police were alerted after the family of one of the boys found a note saying he was taking fishing rods and cash and leaving, The Australian reports.
Queensland Police revealed last night that the kids had finally been located some 200 kilometres across the border, in Grafton. The car had previously been spotted at 4:45 AM at a service station in Banana, about 115 kilometres south of Rockhampton, where the kids allegedly stole a tank of petrol and took off again. Yesterday afternoon the runaways were spotted again near Glenn Innes, NSW, about 10 hours from Gracemere, before police finally caught up with them just west of Grafton.
All four kids have since been taken into custody, although Queensland Police claimed they were not under arrest. One of them was released into the care of a family member, and the other three will be taken into the care of Community and Family Services. The investigation is reportedly ongoing.
This isn’t the first time a child’s been caught taking the family car on a cross-country jaunt. Two years ago, a 12-year-old boy took off from his home in Kendall, near Port Macquarie, in his parents’ car and attempted to drive solo across Australia to Perth: a 4,000-kilometre journey. He only made it as far as Broken Hill, however, 1,300 kilometres from home, before highway patrol officers pulled him over and arrested him. In that case The Guardian reported that it was likely the boy would be charged under the Young Offenders Act over three offences, according to police—including failing to pay for petrol and driving without a licence.
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