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As young Orange tradie Joe slept this morning, he was robbed of his keys, wallet and new $64,000 ute

Joe Harley in front of his garage in Orange. Copyright: Orange News Examiner on-the-spot photo.

By Peter Holmes

21-year-old carpenter Joe Harley was sleeping in the early hours of this morning when his villa was robbed.

His keys and wallet were stolen, along with his new $64,000 Hilux ute.

Joe's ute and trailer. Facebook.

An unknown number of thieves gained access to his home after breaking into a locked garage with internal access.

“I got home about 10pm [Wednesday night] and then I woke up [Thursday morning] and the garage door was wide open.

“Then I started putting it all together. I couldn’t see my keys or my wallet. They were in the kitchen. Even though the garage was locked, they’re pretty easy to get into.”

The ute was parked on Woodward Street and had a work trailer attached. The trailer was unhitched before the vehicle was driven away.

The thought of having one or more people in his home while he slept left Harley feeling “violated”.

“You’re asleep and there are people in your kitchen. I was just down the hallway in my room. Luckily the keys were on my bench. Whether they would look harder for them … I get taking the car, whatever, but being in your house when you don’t know is very frightening.”

As he showed The Orange News Examiner around his villa, he pointed out the short distance - probably less than 10 metres - from the kitchen bench to his bedroom.

Harley believes the robbery took place somewhere in the 1am-2am period.

He has seen footage posted on social media showing people in what is believed to be the stolen Hilux doing burnouts in Glenroi around 3:40am today.

Two police attended the property this morning. Harley says he was told that if the ute hadn’t already been set alight it was possibly a good sign, as that was most likely to happen within a day or two of the robbery.

Harley had only bought the work ute in February. It had cost him $64,000 and had less than 5,000km on the clock.

“I loved it,” he said. “I was coming from a 2008 manual, and it had its fair share of issues; this one was automatic and I was loving it sick.”

He’s not even sure he wants it back now.

“I don’t know what my best outcome is. The tyres will need replacing because the burnouts they were doing were just excessive.

“If I was to get it back it would never be the same. It would have to undergo a very rigorous check before I was OK to use it again.

“I was never going to go and do burnouts in it. I just think it's unnecessary stress on it.”

A member of the forensics team arrived about 11:15am and asked Harley a series of questions about the robbery and what was stolen. They asked not to be photographed.

A member of the public posted this image of tyre marks from 3:45am today on social media. Facebook.

Harley grew up in Bobadah, out Condoblin way, and has lived in Orange for about three years.

A well-spoken young man, he is grateful, in one respect, because nobody was hurt. But he’s also pretty cheesed off, and struggles to understand why his pride and joy was stolen.

If he could speak to the person or people responsible he says he’d begin with a bit of explicit language.

“And then honestly, I don’t know. It’d probably be something like ‘go to bed, be a good citizen. There’s no need to steal a car, there is no point to it’.”

Harley’s boss has a spare ute, and the young tradesman will use that until things are sorted with the Hilux.

If you have information about the Hilux please contact Orange Police Station 6363 6399.


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