Farmers frustrated as thieves target farms

FOUR thefts in three months.

The first time, thieves stole a generator and a welder from a shed on a property 30 minutes drive from Casino.

Two months later a gleaming new welder worth $1600, a generator and chainsaw were stolen from the same shed.

Farmer Keith Larsson, who runs cattle on his land, wasn't about to give up.

After two thefts, he thought the thieves might return so a new $4500 generator was pinned to the ground with the front-end loader.

Mr Larsson made sure the frame of the generator was immovable.

But the brand new generator was stolen.

"They took the generator by unscrewing the frame," Mr Larsson said. "I removed all the rest of the items and took them to Casino."

When 600 litres of diesel was stolen from the fuel tank Mr Larsson knew he had to get serious about protecting his property.

"Me and the police couldn't figure out how they got it," he said.

"They must have siphoned it out."

So Mr Larsson installed a locking system on the fuel tap.

His next purchase will be a shipping container with a lock box so bolt cutters can't be used to gain access, he says. He plans to move the fuel tanks inside the shed and install security cameras including infra-red.

Fortunately for Mr Larsson most of the cost is covered by his insurance company.

He is sure the thieves are coming at night because there are other houses in view, but no one has seen anything.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I'll put in lights that come on and lock down roller doors."

Mr Larsson said there had been reports of other thefts on the valley.

"There is a spate of it happening," he said.

The police collected DNA samples from Mr Larsson's shed and found unknown DNA.

He has checked eBay and Gumtree selling websites to see if any of his items were listed.

"They could be selling it on, flogging it," he said.

The former principal of Bonalbo School, Mr Larsson retired to Casino and now works his cattle and crop farm.

His brother, on the other side of Mallanganee, had eight rolls of barbed wire stolen.

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