WA Police have called for calm in the outback town of Kununurra after 17 cars were stolen from a dealership. Angry locals have threatened with vigilante action against the children allegedly involved in the thefts.
By
NITV Staff Writer

Source:
AAP
4 Oct 2016 - 5:02 PM  UPDATED 4 Oct 2016 - 5:07 PM

The cars were stolen on separate nights over the last week after thieves broke into a dealership and obtained keys from a locked office.

The perpetrators drove one car through two front glass doors, and another through a locked gate, damaging the dealership building. One car was found crashed in to a tree in bushland.

Police Sergeant Dave Loverock said he told the administrators of a Kununurra community Facebook page to delete posts suggesting people patrol the streets and take the law into their own hands.

Police have charged six youths and arrested two more over the thefts. Sergeant Loverock said it was a terrible situation to see a private business targeted but he also believed it should not be blown out of proportion.

"I don't want to see anyone targeting kids for being stupid. Yes, their behaviour is criminal but they are juveniles and they are going to make bad decisions," he told AAP.

"A person doesn't raise a child, a community raises a child and this is where the community needs to start saying: what are you doing and what is the greater community doing to provide something for these kids to do."

As well as the crime spree, the town has also been rocked by the recent suicides of two teenage girls.

Acts and threats of suicide and self-harm have become major problems among young Aboriginal women in the area, especially girls in their early to mid-teens, Sergeant Loverock said.

"A person doesn't raise a child, a community raises a child and this is where the community needs to start saying: what are you doing and what is the greater community doing to provide something for these kids to do."

The Kimberley town has a population of less than 5000 and is close to the Northern Territory border.

The vigilante threats come after the recent eruption of racially-charged violence in Kalgoorlie, which followed anger over the death of Aboriginal teenager Elijah Doughty, who was riding an allegedly stolen motorbike when he was run off the road by its supposed owner, a 55-year-old man charged police charged with manslaughter. 

Elijah's death prompted complaints by local Aboriginal people about a vigilante culture in Kalgoorlie, fuelled by racist online posts.

Kununurra police fear similar racial tensions and violence might erupt.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Local Aboriginal Medical Services are available from www.vibe.com.au.

 

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