Ritzy locations where kid gangsters ‘shop’ for luxury cars
WANNABE child gangsters are targeting Brisbane's wealthiest suburbs to steal luxury cars and take them on deadly joy rides which they film and upload to social media.
Dozens of videos of teen thugs dealing BMWs, Lexuses, Mercedes Benzs, among other vehicles, are being placed on a number of Instagram and Facebook pages, aimed at promoting their so-called "gang" image.
But police have turned the tables, saying crooks who post their crimes are shooting themselves in the foot by making them easier to prosecute.
There are 39 vehicle thefts per day in Queensland, according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
A breakdown of their data shows Eagle Farm is one of the worst suburbs in Brisbane for car thefts, with 118 cars stolen from the suburb in 2019.
Police on the beat say child criminals "do their shopping" in the wealthy suburbs because luxury vehicles are an easy target while people are at work.
In daily videos posted to social media, teenagers call themselves members of Brisbane's Northside and Southside gangs and film themselves driving stolen luxury cars at speeds of more than 200km/h hour.
And in some cases they are even being chased by police helicopters.
Queensland Police Service said that when these youth criminals record themselves, it actually presents officers with a better opportunity to prosecute them.
"Offenders recording and live streaming themselves committing crimes presents opportunities for police to obtain evidence to identify offenders and prosecute them," the statement read.
"The ability to charge a person based on a social media recording alone would be dependent on the circumstances, whether the recording alone provides sufficient evidence to prove an offence, and whether police can legally access the data."
Gold Coast teenager Ashley* knows too well the impact youth crime can have on an innocent party.
On February 15, Ashley woke to find her black convertible Audi A3 missing from her driveway.
She was unable to attend any of her three jobs until police located her car at Woodridge, south of Brisbane.
Despite having her vehicle recovered, her mental anguish continues.
"I live alone and it seriously destroyed my mental health for a few weeks and I found it really hard to get my life back on track," Ashley told The Courier-Mail.
"It was like my life had to be put on hold whilst dealing with the incident.
"I now ensure my car is locked with all personal belongings out of sight. (My) windows are locked with both a security screen and wooden door locked.
"I have now installed a motion sensor light and cameras in front of my house also."
As politicians debate the need for additional resources to fight the state's youth crime issue, Ashley says she has no doubt a problem with teenage criminals exists in Queensland.
She believes tougher action against juvenile criminals could curb the problem.
"These kids have no fear as the government won't do anything about it other than a slap on the wrist. The issue is that they're committing adult crimes and therefore should be punished with consequences like adults," she said.
"What they put on social media is stupid and completely out of lines, the kids are as young as 12 and if their attitude and habits don't change, who knows what we as a community will have to deal with in a few years time."
*Not her real name.
Originally published as Brisbane's ritzy suburbs where kid gangsters 'shop' for luxury cars