Teens charged after social media car crime post
FOUR of the five youths charged with stealing and posing with a car on social media have been denied bail after being slapped with almost 40 charges.
The Cairns Post understands the four girls and a boy appeared in Cairns Children's Court yesterday following their dramatic arrest in Port Douglas, with just one being released into the community.
Following their arrest, it is understood one of the group, who are aged between 12 and 16, then said to police: "Nothing you can do. We'll be out tomorrow stealing your cars you c***suckers."
They collectively faced 39 property-related offences.
The incident was just the latest in a string of growing property crime offences in the Cairns area as community concern and anger grows over the juvenile justice system.
Far North police Det Insp Jason Smith spoke again yesterday trying to deter vigilante action following several social media groups springing up and residents performing their own night-time patrols.
"We do not condone vigilantism at all or any of the vigilante online sites," he said.
"When people engage these youths they put themselves at risk and people's safety is paramount.
"The best thing they can do is notify Queensland Police about anything they see that's suspicious and we will delegate crews to attend as quickly as we can."
The group was arrested at Port Douglas following a major police operation where several streets were cordoned off and the dog squad brought in.
Local officers had spotted the stolen orange Holden Commodore parked on a street, calling in reinforcements from Cairns who tracked the alleged offenders for three hours.
The five youths were then found hiding in a garden bed.
The car had been stolen from a Yorkeys Knob residence on Tuesday night along with a second vehicle which was found dumped at White Rock, while a third abandoned stolen car was found at Yorkeys Knob. Det Insp Smith said police were hunting up to four other offenders.
Eight youths were pictured posing on and around the Commodore in the picture which was shared online and he said he feared this had been shared among criminal cohorts.
"I'm concerned that is does inspire them to commit further offences or see some sort of status as a result of having posted that image," he said.
"However, I'm here to say that police also receive those images and we use it against them to apprehend them and put them before the court and that will continue to happen whilstever they use social media and are live streaming their criminal behaviour."