Police in Australia clearly don’t understand the meaning of “Gone fishin’.”
Authorities stopped the joyride of a lifetime when they caught up with four children in a stolen 4×4 last weekend, some 900 kilometres from the kids’ starting point. The kids were stopped with fishing equipment and cash in the vehicle.
The three boys and a girl ranged in age from 10 to 14, according to Queensland Police. The oldest allegedly took off with his dad’s car and left a goodbye note, according to reports. Not all of the children are related.
Their Ferris Bueller-like escape took them from Gracemere, Queensland, to Grafton, New South Wales, in a journey thought to have started on late Saturday or early Sunday. The incident happened at the end of a two-week school holiday period in Queensland, and touched off a major search following their disappearance.
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A gas station attendant said he saw the vehicle and its pint-sized occupants in Banana, some 140 km south of their starting point early Sunday. The kids allegedly fuelled up and took off without paying, BBC News reports.
“He is really short,” the attendant said of the vehicle’s driver, after reviewing security footage of the alleged fuel theft.
“He barely even reaches the window.”
The minimum driving age in Queensland is 17 years old.
Police caught up with the kids in Grafton later that day after a short pursuit. The children refused to unlock their doors so police had to break a window with a baton, Acting Inspector Darren Williams told Australia’s ABC News. He added that the children were arrested on the scene.
“There will be charges laid in the future and it’s just a matter of police having the opportunity to interview those children at a later date,” Williams said.
Williams added that the journey from Gracemere to Grafton would normally take 10 hours.
“It’s a pretty big journey, and it’s a long way for a young person,” he said.
Police say the vehicle was driven by a 14-year-old boy who took the keys from his father. They added that the boy’s dad would be flying to New South Wales to collect his car — and his son.