| 22.02,19. 06:30 PM |
Townsville man charged after flood-ravaged homes in Idalia stripped of $80,000 in goods
Townsville man charged with stealing from flood-hit homes (ABC News)
Police have charged a man with stealing up to $80,000 worth of goods from homes affected by the north Queensland floods.
Extra police resources have been placed in Townsville to prevent looting and theft in the wake of the floods.
Fear of theft was one of the reasons some residents decided not to evacuate their houses.
The 57-year-old Townsville man has been charged with two counts of stealing from properties in Idalia — one of the suburbs hit hardest by the floods.
Tactical Services Group Inspector Sean Dugger said police searched the man's house after public tip-offs.
"The property has a conservative value between $50,000 and $80,000," Inspector Dugger said.
"A significant amount of property was located — in fact, so much property that it filled a 20-foot [shipping] container from front to back."
Inspector Dugger said the stolen property included furniture and white goods, and most likely took several days to accumulate.
He said Townsville residents had already suffered enough.
"This is probably the last thing they need, people coming in and making the process of getting back to normality even more difficult," he said.
"Some of the items are needed for the insurance assessors to come and properly do their role."
Officers are urging people to stay away from flood-affected streets and to be aware of goods being sold.
"If you don't belong in the area, if you're not a resident of the suburb and you don't need to be there, stay away," Inspector Dugger said.
"If there's any question about ownership of property that you may be taking don't because you may be subject to prosecution."