17 charged after wild juvenile crime spree
A DISABILITY pensioner was allegedly held at knifepoint, an elderly man threatened, a teenager escaped from a police station and multiple cars were stolen from Far North homes in a wild Easter long weekend juvenile crime spree.
At last 17 youths are facing more than 70 offences with some of the more serious charges including deprivation of liberty, armed robbery and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
The spree, which is believed to have involved at least two separate gangs, began on Friday night with the rescue helicopter still helping police track stolen vehicles around Cairns throughout Monday.
There were also disturbing reports of vigilantes attempting to chase at least one of the stolen vehicles around Cairns streets on Monday.
Far North police Det Acting Insp Kevin Goan labelled the alleged attacks on the elderly victims as "abhorrent" and revealed multiple extra officers from Cairns, the Cassowary Coast and Tablelands called in to assist.
"At a time when families are coming together to celebrate Easter, it is disappointing to see this propensity for violence and disregard and disrespect for aged persons for nothing more than the sake of joyriding," he said.
"It is disappointing we had to build a response to this, suffice to say they were all taken into custody as quickly as possible, particularly given the distances travelled, police divisions traversed and the serious offending disrupted."
Among the more heinous alleged incidents was a group of six youths charged over a spate of offending which extended from Ravenshoe to Innisfail and as far south as Tully.
An 87-year-old man was allegedly threatened in his Ravenshoe home on Saturday night by several youths who allegedly stole his car.
It was allegedly driven to Innisfail, then dumped on the side of the Bruce Highway before the group broke into a nearby home at Boogan and threatened the 65-year-old female resident and disability pensioner with a knife before stealing her car.
Both of the elderly victims have been left "shaken" and are being offered support.
Innisfail police Det Sgt Steve Bull said the group allegedly broke in and trashed a service station at Silkwood, while two of them - both 14-year-old boys - allegedly attempted to pull over and car jack multiple cars driving on the Bruce Highway at Cowley, allegedly punching a male motorist in the head.
He called on anyone who was driving in the vicinity between 4-5am on Sunday morning who saw any suspicious behaviour or has dashcam to come forward.
The alleged main offender, a 16-year-old boy, was taken into custody back in Ravenshoe and allegedly managed to flee the station before a member of the public assisted police in recapturing him.
The remaining members of the group were three boys and two girls aged 14 and 15.
A carload of teens were also arrested at Babinda on Sunday in a car allegedly stolen from Townsville on Saturday.
They were aged between 13 and 15 and were from both Cairns and Townsville.
Det Acting Insp Goan said 10 of the 17 youths arrested had been remanded in custody.
Originally published as 'Abhorrent': 17 charged in wild FNQ juvenile crime spree