Missing childrens' 1000km joy ride ends in arrest
FOUR Queensland children who allegedly stole one of their father's vehicles and went on a 1000km interstate joy ride are expected to be charged within a matter of days following their arrest on the NSW north coast last night.
Speaking to the media in Coffs Harbour this morning, Coffs/Clarence Acting Inspector Darren Williams said police tracked down the location of the children through one of their mobile phones.
The children, a 12-year-old girl, two 13-year-old boys from Queensland and a 14-year-old boy originally from Grafton, were found in the stolen Nissan Patrol parked off the Gwydir Highway at Jackadgery.
It's understood they had travelled through the centre of Queensland, out through Warialda before travelling towards Glen Innes.
During their journey the children, who failed to pay for petrol twice, were sighted at stations in Banana in Qld and Warialda in NSW.
At Glen Innes the children engaged police in a pursuit but due to the age of the driver the chase was terminated.
When police located the children at Jackadgery they locked themselves in the vehicle, and officers were required to force their way in.
One of the 13-year-old boys was found in the driver's seat but A/Insp Williams believe the children took turns to drive.
"Last night at 10.40pm police located a stolen vehicle from Queensland on the Gwydir Hwy. That vehicle contained four juveniles" A/Insp Williams said.
"Those young persons were subsequently arrested by police and taken to Grafton Police Station. They assisted police in their inquiries."
A/Insp Williams said at this stage police have "no idea" what the motivation of the children was as a parent must be present during interviews with the children, but speculated they were travelling to Grafton as the 14-year-old boy's mother resides there.
He said the father of the 14-year-old boy, whose vehicle had been stolen, is flying in to NSW from Rockhampton today.
"It's a pretty big journey, and a long way for a young person," Insp Williams said.
"A couple of Red Bulls and you'll likely do anything."
A/Insp Williams said the children are expected to be charged with traffic offences following further inquiries.