MARK MAN: Repairing keyed cars is keeping Bumper 2 Bumper owner Steve Jackson busy.
MARK MAN: Repairing keyed cars is keeping Bumper 2 Bumper owner Steve Jackson busy. Warren Lynam

Drivers footing the bill for 'keying' epidemic

MOTORISTS are being left with damage worth thousands of dollars thanks to an upsurge in "keying" of cars on the Sunshine Coast.

Steve Jackson, owner of repair business Bumper 2 Bumper, said he was taking calls "every second day" from motorists whose cars had been "keyed".

Keying refers to the practice of scratching the paintwork of a car with a key or another sharp object.

The owner of a car parked in a Eumundi street on Saturday returned to his vehicle after 90 minutes at the markets to find panels "keyed" and even scratches on the glass.

Mr Jackson said he had seen an increase in cars "keyed" during and since the Christmas holidays and the damage brought to him was definitely not accidental.

He said the scratches were not straight enough to be trolley lines and, in some cases, the culprits made attempts to draw on cars.

"I did one the other day for an old bloke which had a penis drawn on it. I managed to get that out," he said.

"A lot of them I'm seeing are sharp, real sharp, like done with a compass or something that sharp. A lot of them are real deep lines.

"All I can put it down to is just young, bored kids," he said.

Mr Jackson said repairing a scratch could cost from $120 at its cheapest through to $500 if a whole panel had to be resprayed.

He said the cheaper fixes were not as successful on light-coloured vehicles and metallic paints, rating light grey or silver as one of the most difficult to work on.

Barry Stevens, of Tinbeerwah, said his son, Stuart, found virtually every panel of his blue Subaru WRX scratched when he returned to it on Saturday.

The car had been parked in Cook St for about 90 minutes of the day while Stuart and his girlfriend visited the markets.

Mr Stevens said the culprits had attempted to scratch the doors and attempted to engrave the word "blue" into the bonnet, denting it at the same time.

He said Stuart had been devastated at the damage to his prized car.

"He's 21 and he worked as much as he could, saved up so he could buy the car of his dreams," he said.

The damage was not covered by insurance as the young driver, in an attempt to keep his premium manageable, was not fully insured.

Mr Stevens was surprised at how much damage the culprits had done in broad daylight without any apparent witnesses or interruption.

"I'd say it's just kids with too much time on their hands and nothing much to do. I don't think it would have been somebody going to the markets," he said.

The damage has been reported to police. Anyone with information should call Eumundi police station on 5442 8222 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.



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