Van theft appeal renewed
POLICE have renewed an appeal for information and reminded people of a reward on offer more than three months after Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson's Toyota Tarago campaign van was stolen and torched.
Anyone providing information on the theft of the van from Alstonville on September 7 to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $1000.
Cr Johnson said the first he knew about the van being stolen was when police knocked at the door of his Lennox Head home at 2.30am telling him the van had been found on fire.
As the van was found on the corner of Lennox Circuit and Ballina Rd at Pottsville, Cr Johnson said he thought all signs pointed to a political attack.
"It was clearly a political act during the campaign because it had all the posters and election material on it that was also targeted with graffiti," he said.
"Given the location and the street names it was clearly a signal that this was a political act, which is quite concerning when you are just out there trying to make a difference in the community."
Since the van was stolen and torched, Mr Johnson said he hadn't experienced any further political backlash.
"It's great that the police have put out an appeal for more information because it's concerning when this quite extreme violent act occurs as part of a local government campaign."
"I would encourage anyone with any information to call Ballina police or Crime Stoppers."
Cr Johnson said he was yet to replace the van, which did not have fire and theft insurance.
"We did have a fundraiser night where we did raise a bit of money but not enough for another van."
Anyone interested in donating toward the Ballina Greens fundraising to replace the van can deposit money at any Westpac Bank BSB 032-591 A/C 243 747.
Ballina Detectives are appealing to anyone with information to contact them at Ballina Police Station on 6681 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.